Vice President Joseph Biden kicked off a week of meetings on how to address gun violence today meeting with representatives from gun-safety groups, survivors of gun violence, and the family members of gun victims.
"The president IS going to act," Biden told them. The White House, he said, has determined that "executive action can be taken" though they have not settled yet on exactly what that action should or will be.
Biden opened the meeting in the Old Executive Office Building's Cordell Hull conference room thanking the attendees for coming and noted that he realized many of them had lost someone to gun violence and noted that he was eager to hear their opinions. Then he got into the message of the event which was: The time has come for us to act, according to the White House press pool report.
"Every once in a while something raises the consciousness of the nation," he said. "This is a problem that requires immediate attention."
"The President and I are determined to take action." Biden asserted
"I want to make clear that we're not going to get caught up in the notion that, unless we can do everything, were going to do nothing."
Biden told the gathering that the administration was casting a wide net in its search for input and that tomorrow, in fact, he would be a meeting of gun owners and the NRA.
Attorney General Eric Holder sat next to the Vice President.
Gun Safety Advocate Groups represented included: Arizona for Gun Safety, Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus & States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Cease Fire Pennsylvania, CT Against Gun Violence, Cure Violence, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Protect Minnesota, Violence Policy Center and Wisconsin Anti Violence Effort.
Victims & Survivors included: Colin Goddard and Elilta Habtu, survivors of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting in which 32 people died; William Kellibrew, Witness to Violence & Founder, William Kellibrew Foundation; Annette Nance-Holt, Mother of Victim to Gang Violence; and Lonnie Phillips, stepfather of the July massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in which a dozen people were slain.
Tomorrow morning, the Vice President will meet with advocates for sportsmen and women and wildlife interest groups as part of the Administration’s effort to develop policy proposals in response to the tragedy in Newtown.
The Vice President will be joined by Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
The Vice President will meet with representatives from gun owners’ groups in the afternoon, when he will be joined by Attorney General Eric Holder, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
Then, in the evening, the Vice President will meet with representatives from the entertainment industry. He will be joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.