White House talks don't include NRA - gun group president

WASHINGTON Sat Dec 29, 2012 10:43am IST

David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), leads a moment of silence for victims of the December 14 Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, before a news conference in Washington December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

David Keene, president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), leads a moment of silence for victims of the December 14 Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, before a news conference in Washington December 21, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An effort led by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to find ways to reduce gun violence after the Connecticut school massacre so far has not included talking to the National Rifle Association, the president of the gun rights group said on Friday.

NRA President David Keene said neither Biden nor his staff has contacted the organization since President Barack Obama unveiled the effort on December 19.

Keene said he was not surprised, given Biden's past support for new gun control laws. "He's not even a friendly antagonist," Keene told Reuters in an interview.

The lack of communication between the White House and the largest U.S. lobbying group for gun owners is a sign that the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, has so far failed to change long-held stances on gun politics. In that tragedy, a young man shot his mother with her own gun before killing 20 children and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Biden and up to four Cabinet officers are holding a series of meetings with outside groups to discuss possible gun legislation. The first was with law enforcement officials, another with mayors.

The White House has said other meetings will take place with gun safety groups and gun owners, among others, but it has not said whether the NRA will be invited. The White House had no comment on Friday.

Asked about the organization's influence, Obama struck an optimistic note on Dec 19. "The NRA is an organization that has members who are mothers and fathers," he said. "I would expect that they've been impacted by this as well, and hopefully, they'll do some self-reflection."

Two days later, NRA executive Wayne LaPierre said at a press conference that new gun laws were not the answer, calling instead for some form of armed guards in every school.

Keene told Reuters: "I'm willing to talk to anybody. I'm willing to sit down with anybody up there." He added, though, that he would not agree to "gut" gun rights.

"I'm going to want to have a conversation about how we protect our children," he said. "That's a serious conversation. Offering sort of feel-good bills doesn't strike me as serious."

Biden's group is due to offer its recommendations in January.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Thursday found that support remains high for preserving specific gun ownership privileges, such as concealed-weapon permits, as well as for some restrictions, such as background checks for every purchase.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Gunna Dickson)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Boat Tragedy

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Putin risks upstaging talks on defusing Ukraine crisis.  Full Article 

Xi's Master Plan

Xi's Master Plan

China's Xi purging corrupt officials to put own men in place - sources.  Full Article 

Not Funny

Not Funny

North Korean embassy complains to UK after salon mocks leader's hair.  Full Article 

Science Update

Science Update

Oh baby: Scientists find protein that lets egg and sperm hook up.  Full Article 

Nuclear Assurance

Nuclear Assurance

Modi says committed to no first use of nuclear weapons.  Full Article 

Holy Week

Holy Week

The Christian faithful celebrate Holy Week, the week which leads into Easter Sunday.  Slideshow 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage