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Joe Biden to produce gun package for president this week

1:10 PM, Jan 13, 2013   |    comments
Vice President Biden (Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM, AFP/Getty Images)
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The Obama administration is marking the week of its second inaugural with a robust debate on how to address gun violence.

Vice President Biden says he wants to present a gun package to President Obama by Tuesday, a comprehensive wish list that is likely to range from renewal of the assault weapons ban to expanded background checks on gun buyers.

President Obama, who will be sworn in for a second term next Sunday, has pledged to push Congress on legislation to prevent mass shootings like the one last month that killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Connecticut.

Biden and his staff are also exploring mental health and cultural issues involved in gun violence, but their expected gun control proposals will draw the most attention, and the most opposition.

David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association, told CNN's State of the Union on Sunday that new restrictions on guns are unconstitutional and ineffective.

"They interfere with people's rights (to gun ownership) without doing anything to solve the problem," Keene said.

In addition to a new assault weapons ban, Biden and aides have talked about "universal" background checks on all gun buyers, restrictions on the sizes of ammunition magazines, and new technologies that could make it impossible for non-owners to fire weapons.

Biden has also called for a comprehensive approach to the gun problem. He and other Cabinet members have met with representatives from a variety of communities, including law enforcement, medical, social services, legal, and education. They have also spoken with elected officials, and religious faith leaders.

The vice president's guests have include gun control supporters and gun rights advocates, including the NRA.

The Biden recommendations are likely to include proposed laws that Congress must approve and executive actions that Obama can take himself.

Obama assigned Biden this task after the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

"You know," Biden said last week, "there's 10,000 people a year gunned down in our cities, different motives, different reasons, different explanations. But, you know, it's a real problem. It's serious."

Biden said, "I'm going to be submitting to the president a proposal as to how to proceed. I'm shooting for Tuesday. I hope I get it done by then."

David Jackson, USA TODAY

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