WASHINGTON (AP) - Looking for broader remedies to gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden expressed interest Friday in existing technology that would keep a gun from being fired by anyone other than the purchaser. He said evidence shows such technology may have affected events in Connecticut last month when 20 youngsters and six teachers were gunned down inside their elementary school.
“Had the young man not had access to his mother’s arsenal, he may or may not have been able to get a gun,” said Biden, speaking of the gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who used weapons purchased by his mother to carry out the attack.
Biden said the technology exists but is expensive.
The vice president spoke during a portion of a meeting with video game industry representatives that was open to media coverage. It was the latest in a series of meetings he’s held with interested parties on both sides of the issue as he finalizes the administration’s response to the Connecticut shooting.
Biden said he hopes to send recommendations to President Barack Obama by Tuesday.
Friday’s meeting came a day after a similar meeting with the powerful National Rifle Association, which rejected Obama administration proposals to limit high-capacity ammunition magazines and dug in on its opposition to a ban on assault weapons, which Obama has said he will propose to Congress. The NRA was one of several pro-gun rights groups whose representatives met with Biden during the day.
NRA President David Keene, asked Friday if his group has enough support in Congress to fend off legislation to ban sales of assault weapons, indicated it does. “I do not think that there’s going to be a ban on so-called assault weapons passed by the Congress,” he said on NBC’s “Today.”
In previewing the meeting with the video game industry, Biden recalled how the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York lamented during crime bill negotiations in the 1980s that the country was “defining deviancy down.”
It’s unclear what, if anything, the administration is prepared to recommend on how to address the depiction of violence in the media.
White House press secretary Jay Carney last month suggested that not all measures require government intervention.
“It is certainly the case that we in Washington have the potential, anyway, to help elevate issues that are of concern, elevate issues that contribute to the scourge of gun violence in this country, and that has been the case in the past, and it certainly could be in the future,” Carney said then.
In a statement, a half-dozen entertainment groups, including the Motion Picture Association of America, said they “look forward to doing our part to seek meaningful solutions.”
On gun control, however, the Obama administration is assembling proposals to curb gun violence that would include a ban on sales of assault weapons, limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines and universal background checks for gun buyers.
“The vice president made it clear, made it explicitly clear, that the president had already made up his mind on those issues,” Keene said after the meeting. “We made it clear that we disagree with them.”
Opposition from the well-funded and politically powerful NRA underscores the challenges awaiting the White House if it seeks congressional approval for limiting guns and ammunition. Obama can use his executive powers to act alone on some gun measures, but his options on the proposals opposed by the NRA are limited without Congress‘ cooperation.