Biden Plans New Gun-Control Offensive

Image: Biden Plans New Gun-Control Offensive

Friday, 03 May 2013 11:03 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Vice President Joe Biden is planning to renew his campaign for gun-control legislation with speeches around the country supporting expanded background checks and tougher gun-trafficking laws after similar measures failed to get through the Senate last month.

During a 90-minute meeting with South Carolina law-enforcement officials in advance of a speech he will give to the state Democrats Friday night, Biden said he has yet to discuss his plans with the president, Politico reported Friday.

The vice president said he would lead the effort to redirect the gun-control effort in a way that might win over senators who voted against the background-check bill put forward by Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Pat Toomey.

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"He was talking like he was going to be leading it," a law-enforcement official told Politico. "He didn't mention any other senators in terms of leading the charge."

Biden also pointed to falling poll numbers for some senators targeted by gun-control groups for voting against expanded background checks. They include Republican Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire; Democrat Mark Begich and Republican Lisa Murkowski, both of Alaska; and Democratic Max Baucus of Montana.

The vice president said he plans to travel to those states to push for background checks.

Biden hosted a similar session with leading gun-control groups last week, and discussed strategy to win over some of those who voted against the Senate bill.

Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson, chairman of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, told Politico, "The vice president made it clear that he is, that many are trying, to understand why certain elected officials voted no."

"And he has, as well as many of us, reached out to these individuals and are trying to understand, 'Why did you vote no?' And that effort is under way," he said.

Jon Adler, national president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, was also at the meeting with Biden, and told Politico, "His candid request was for us to tell him what can be done differently. His sense was not to go back to the drawing board with the same thing that just lost."

Added Adler, "You bet on a horse and lose, you're not going to bet on the same exact horse in the same race."

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