* Biden-led group holds first meeting on Thursday
* Scant support for gun control from Republicans
* NRA news conference set for Friday across from White House
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - The head of the National
Rifle Association will discuss gun control and violence in the
United States on a weekend television talk show, as the group
mounts its response to the Connecticut school shootings.
NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre will appear on NBC's
"Meet the Press" on Sunday, his first interview since the
killing of 20 young children and six adults at a school in
Newtown, Connecticut, last Friday.
The show said LaPierre would talk about gun control and
"what he thinks should be done to curb the threat of violence in
America" during his appearance.
The group, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the
United States, kept largely quiet in the first days after the
Newtown shootings. It broke its silence on Tuesday to say it
wanted to contribute meaningfully to prevent another massacre
like the Connecticut shooting and would hold a "major" news
conference on Friday.
That news conference will take place on Friday morning at a
hotel across the street from the White House, the NRA said on
A powerful force in Washington and beyond, the NRA uses
political pressure against individual lawmakers in the U.S.
Congress and in state legislatures to press for loosening
restrictions on gun sales and ownership while promoting hunting
and gun sports.
But it has come under pressure from gun-control proponents
since the Connecticut massacre, the fourth mass shooting in the
United States this year.
President Barack Obama has vowed to press for tighter gun
laws by next year, and announced that Vice President Joe Biden
would lead an interagency effort, including several members of
Obama's cabinet, to craft new policies.
Biden's group was holding its first meeting on Thursday.
Democrats in Congress who favor gun control have called for
quick votes on measures to ban assault weapons or high-capacity
magazines, hoping that the slaying of the 6- and 7-year olds in
Newtown might be a tipping point to win over more lawmakers.
U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband was
killed in a mass shooting in 1993, said something has to be
done. "There's going to be another killing," she told reporters
at the Capitol. "The problem is, they are getting worse and
But so far, the only major Republican legislator who has
come out in favor of an assault weapons ban is Senator Scott
Brown, a moderate from Massachusetts, who lost his bid for
re-election and is leaving office.
The NRA's power is partly due to its large and active
membership, which reportedly has been growing rapidly since the
Newtown shootings. NRA officials did not immediately comment,
but Fox News, citing a source within the organization, said the
group has been adding 8,000 new members a day.
(Reporting By Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Claudia Parsons)
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