WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has conducted informal discussions with groups from both ends of the gun-policy spectrum, including law enforcement and gun-rights organizations, and is set to hold formal meetings as early as this week in an effort to chart out a set of new firearms policies, administration officials say.
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Spearheaded by the Department of Justice, the talks were described by one individual involved in the discussions as a “feeling-out process.” With more official meetings set to begin shortly, they provide the clearest indication to date that the White House is readying a response to the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 19 others at Tucson in early January.
“As the president said, we should focus on sound, effective steps that will keep guns out of the hands of the criminals, fugitives, people with serious mental illness, and others who have no business possessing a gun and who are prohibited by laws on the books from owning a gun,” Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said. “We will be meeting with stakeholders on all sides of the issue to discuss how we can find sensible, intelligent ways to make the country safer.”
The goal is to finalize a set of policy changes, including, perhaps, legislation that could pass through a Congress hostile to abridgments of Second Amendment rights. The last serious bite at the apple occurred following the shootings at Virginia Tech in April 2007. Read more