- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Leaders of prominent gun control groups said Wednesday they expect to see substantive action from President Biden on the issue in the near future after a meeting with White House officials.

“President Biden is committed to taking executive action and working with Congress to put in place reforms that will keep this country’s kids and communities safe,” said Peter Ambler, executive director of the group Giffords. “Today’s meeting was a strong affirmation of that commitment.”

Mr. Ambler and other leaders met virtually with Susan Rice, who leads the White House Domestic Policy Council, and Cedric Richmond, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement.

Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, said they’re “confident” about seeing executive and legislative action in the “near future.”

The other groups represented at the meeting were Brady and Everytown for Gun Safety.

“We are pleased that the administration recognizes the gravity of this issue and look forward to continued discussion with and actions by the administration to begin confronting the ever-present threat of gun violence that claims over 100 lives a day,” said Kris Brown, president of Brady.

The Wednesday meeting included talk about violence intervention programs, background checks, and banning homemade “ghost” guns, according to the White House.

Some gun control advocates have been frustrated with a lack of early action after Mr. Biden campaigned aggressively on stricter controls like expanding background checks and banning military-style firearms like the AR-15.

Gun rights groups have been bracing for Mr. Biden to take unilateral action, though much of what he has talked about would require action from Congress and would be unlikely to survive a filibuster in the evenly divided Senate.

During the 2020 campaign, Mr. Biden had predicted that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas would “take care of the gun problem with me.”

“You’re going to be the one who leads this effort,” Mr. Biden told Mr. O’Rourke, who had vowed in a 2019 debate to take away Americans’ AR-15s. “I’m counting on you. I’m counting on you.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week that Mr. O’Rourke has no official role in the administration but that Mr. Biden admired the former congressman for elevating the issue.

When he was vice president, Mr. Biden helped lead the Obama administration’s unsuccessful legislative push on gun control after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. 

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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