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The President is going to act: Biden on gun control

January 10, 2013 10:26 IST

In the wake of frequent shootout incidents that have resulted in several deaths in the recent past, the United States is looking into the possibility of issuing an executive order on gun control.

"The President is going to act. There is executive action that can be taken. We have not decided what that is yet, but we are compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet members," said Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday.

He also called for legislative action to control the gun menace.

"I want to make it clear that we are not going to get caught up in the notion, unless we can do everything, we are going to do nothing. It is critically important we act," Biden said, adding that there are some points of action on which there is a consensus, and thus they should be worked upon.

In December, Obama had asked Biden to come out with specific proposals on gun control measures and the vice president is slated to submit his report later in January.

He is also scheduled to meet representatives of the powerful National Rifle Association on Thursday.

"I want it clear to the American public that on behalf of the President, we are reaching out to all parties, regardless of whatever side of this debate you fall," he said.

Later, at a news conference, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in the wake of the tragic Newtown school firing, the US President believes that the country must examine every possible action that it could plausibly take to reduce the terrible scourge of gun violence.

"As you heard him say, it is in many ways our first responsibility to ensure that our children are safe. And what Newtown brought home to us is that we need to do a lot more to ensure that they are safe. He wants to hear -- through the effort that he assigned to the vice president -- from stakeholders of all kinds, and that certainly includes gun owners and organisations that represent gun owners," Carney said.

Both President Obama and his deputy Biden want some constructive solutions to the problem and the vice president is in the process of putting together a series of recommendations that the President will consider, said Carney.

"And once the President has decided on the path forward that he will promote, he will make that known to you," he said.

Earlier, Biden held conference calls with governors of both parties and local elected leaders from across the US over the issue.

Meanwhile, The White House has said US is not deporting CNN anchor Piers Morgan, who is facing the ire of the country's pro-gun lobby for his strong views on gun-control laws, to his home country Britain.

The White House statement came in response to an online petition with more than 1,00,000 signatures, which had urged Obama to deport Morgan, host of a popular CNN evening talk show, for attacking the Second Amendment that grants the right to carry arms.

As per the initiative by the Obama administration, the White House responds to any online petition with more than 25,000 signatures.

"Let's not let arguments over the Constitution's Second Amendment violate the spirit of its First," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

"President Obama believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. However, the Constitution not only guarantees an individual the right to bear arms, but also enshrines the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press --  fundamental principles that are essential to our democracy," Carney said.

He further noted that the state cannot punish a person just because he or she has expressed a view on any policy matter.

"We recognise that the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, sparked an intense, and at times emotional and national conversation about the steps we can take as a country to reduce gun violence. In fact, your petition is one of many on the issues, and President Obama personally responded by sharing his views on this important issue," Carney said.

Soon after Carney's statement, Morgan wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter, "President Obama has officially decided I am not being deported."

Lalit K Jha
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