- The Washington Times - Friday, January 11, 2013

One day after gun ownership groups met with Vice President Joseph R. Biden as part of his ongoing talks on gun violence prevention, the president of the National Rifle Association predicted that Congress will not pass a ban on military-style, so-called “assault weapons” in the wake of the school shootings last month in Newtown, Conn.

“I do not think that there’s going to be a ban on so-called assault weapons passed by the Congress,” David Keene said Friday on NBC’s “Today” show.

The gun-lobbying group put out a sharp statement after Thursday’s meeting, arguing that there was too much focus on attacking the Second Amendment and not enough on how to safeguard the nation’s children.

Mr. Biden was tapped to head a task force on gun violence prevention by President Obama in the wake of the shootings last month in which 26 people, including 20 children, were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Mr. Biden said that he would be delivering recommendations to Mr. Obama by Tuesday, and that the suggested actions that have consistently come up in his meetings with “stakeholders” have been strengthening background checks on gun purchasers, placing restrictions on high-capacity magazines and allowing federal agencies to conduct research on gun violence.

When asked Friday by host Matt Lauer if the gun rights group’s power is diminishing at all, Mr. Keene demurred.

“Well, I don’t know that the NRA is that powerful,” he said. “I do think that those Americans who believe strongly in the Second Amendment and their right to own privately and use firearms for legitimate purposes — there’s a huge number of people who really care about these issues. We try to provide leadership to those folks. We try to represent them before the Congress and elsewhere, but it’s not the power of the NRA, Matt. What it is is the strength of belief of millions of Americans in their right under the Constitution to privately own firearms.”