Entries in NRA (23)


Glenn Beck at NRA Rally: 'Freedom of All Mankind is at Stake'

Michael Caulfield/WireImage(HOUSTON) -- Television and radio host Glenn Beck warned NRA members that the "freedom of all mankind is at stake" and the "right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

"They want to fundamentally transform our country and they've just about finished the project," Beck told an audience of thousands Saturday evening at the NRA convention's Stand and Fight Rally in Houston, Texas. "They feel they must regulate us until we comply, but I will not comply."

Beck grew teary at times and used historically significant guns to talk about the importance of keeping second amendment rights free from any sort of federal gun control laws, stressing "a gun is only a reflection of the people who use it" and warning the audience "we cannot falter, we cannot fail."

"We have to admit two things," Beck added. "That weapons will always find their way into the hands of bad people, always…but we must declare this: that guns must remain in the hands of good people."

Beck's speech ended the second day of the NRA's annual convention where speaker after speaker warned the crowd of thousands of members that their second amendment rights were being attacked by the president specifically and Washington in general.

The leadership told the crowd they may have been victorious when the Manchin-Toomey amendment failed, but the fight is not over.

"Let's not fool ourselves it doesn't mean the war is over," NRA president David Keene told the crowd.

"We must never confuse winning a battle with winning a war. We all know that as we meet here our opponents are regrouping and we know that they'll be back. They are as dedicated today as they've ever been to consigning you and me and all those who believe in the freedoms guaranteed us by these nation's founders to the outer darkness."

Wayne LaPierre, the group's executive vice president and face of the organization, focused the fight on President Obama saying "there is nothing the president will not do to get something, anything, through Congress to advance his agenda to destroy the Second Amendment. Nothing."

"So far, thanks to you and millions of Americans like you, that's exactly what President Obama has gotten — absolutely nothing," LaPierre said.

LaPierre said the failed background checks vote was "significant," but warned it was only "one skirmish in what can only be defined as a long war against our constitutional rights."

"We are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation fight for everything that we care about," LaPierre said.

"We have a chance to secure our freedom for a generation, or to lose it forever. We must remain vigilant, we must remain ever resolute and steadfastly growing and preparing for the even the more critical battles that loom before us. I am proud to report as I stand in front of you this morning that the state of our NRA is stronger and larger than it has ever been...Our commitment to freedom is unwavering, our growth unprecedented."

LaPierre continued saying "without that freedom, we aren't really free at all."

"They can try to blame and shame us with all their might, but when it comes to defending the Second Amendment, we will never sacrifice our freedom upon the altar of elitist acceptance," LaPierre said to applause. "And we will never surrender our guns — never."

LaPierre promised whether "it's round 1 or 2 or 15, this NRA will go the distance."

"And no matter what it takes, we will never give up or compromise our constitutional freedom, not one single inch," LaPierre bellowed.

LaPierre, as well as Keene, launched a rallying cry for the 2014 midterm elections as well as the 2016 presidential election.

James W. Porter II, who is expected to be named president by the NRA board of directors next week succeeding Keene as the group's next president said, "I hear some Americans say with the last election, the country is lost. No, no. An election was lost."

"There's another election more important for the second amendment right around the corner," Porter said to cheers. "With the U.S. Senate and the House up for grabs, we as individual NRA members can direct the massive energy of spontaneous combustion to gain the political high ground. We do that and Obama can be stopped."

It wasn't just the leadership and Beck that pushed the message of standing up to threats they foresee to gun rights during the second day of the convention. John Fafoutakis from Sheridan, Wyo. took to the stage with a message for "all those gun grabbers in Washington.

"And to the gun grabbers of the United Nations who want to disarm all law-abiding Americans, I have these kind words for you 'Fill your hand, you son of a bitch," Fafoutakis said -- reprising a famous John Wayne line from the movie True Grit.

Outside of the convention hall victims of gun violence including family members of those killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting in Newtown, Conn. and the 2011 Tucson shooting were part of a group that held signs protesting the convention, some read "Protect Our Children."

Several tried to engage NRA members in conversation, mostly resulting in civil conversations with differing opinions.

Erica Lafferty, whose mother Dawn Hochsprung was the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary, and Neil Heslin, who lost his 6-year-old son Jesse, were both in attendance.

Other protesters, just across the street from the convention, read the names of those killed by gun violence.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New President Elected at Annual NRA Convention

NRANews/YouTube(HOUSTON) -- The NRA has a new president, Birmingham, Ala., attorney Jim Porter, and if his old stump speeches are any indication, he has a knack for firing up a crowd.

Porter, who until this week was first vice president at the NRA and chairman of the group’s Legal Affairs Committee, will officially take over for David Keene at the group’s annual convention this weekend in Houston. The NRA’s executive vice president and CEO, Wayne LaPierre, has headed the organization since 1991 and has become a somewhat controversial but public face of the organization in recent months.

It’s no surprise that Porter, whose father was an NRA president in the late 1950s, is well-versed in NRA doctrine, namely protecting 2nd Amendment rights at all costs.

Anyone expecting the NRA to soften on assault weapons would be deeply disappointed.

Indeed, Porter, 64, has put it in crystal-clear terms: He believes the NRA was founded to teach civilians how to use military-style weapons in the Civil War era.

“That was the very reason they started the National Rifle Association, was to teach and train the civilian in the use of the standard military firearm,” Porter said at the New York Rifle & Pistol Association’s Annual Meeting in 2012. “And I am one who still feels very strongly that that is our greatest charges that we could have today is to train the civilian in the use of the standard military firearm, so when they have to fight for their country, they’re ready to do it.

“Also when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they’re ready to do it. Also when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they have the wherewithal and the weapons to do it,” Porter added.

The video of the meeting was first unearthed by the Education Fund to Stop Gun Violence.

Speaking of a fight, Porter also noted that the Civil War is commonly mislabeled in the North.

“Y’all might call it the Civil War, but we call it ‘the war of northern aggression’ down South,” Porter said.

In that same speech, Porter also made it clear that there’s no love lost between the NRA and President Obama, whom he called a “fake president.”

“His entire administration is anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-second amendment,” Porter said.

And that was before Obama backed a new background checks bill and pushed for an assault weapons ban in Congress.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Bloomberg, NRA Brace for Showdown on Guns in Senate

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- With the Senate slated to consider comprehensive gun legislation next month, two powerful voices on different sides of the gun debate - New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre – are bracing for the upcoming legislative showdown on guns.

Bloomberg’s gun group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, announced this weekend that it will pour $12 million into advertising in 13 key states to convince potentially persuadable Democratic and Republican senators to vote in favor of gun legislation, specifically focusing on the controversial universal background checks – a measure that an ABC News/Washington Post poll found is supported by 91 percent of the public.

"We're trying to do everything we can to impress upon the senators that this is what the survivors want, this is what the public wants," Bloomberg said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.  "If 90 percent of the public want something, and their representatives vote against that, common sense says, they are going to have a price to pay for that."

The two TV ads, titled “Responsibility” and “Family,” feature a hunter sitting on the bed of a pick-up truck with a hunting rifle across his lap while children play on a tire swing in the background as he argues for universal background checks.

“For me, guns are for hunting and protecting my family.  I believe in the second amendment and I’ll fight to protect it but with rights come responsibility. That’s why I’m for comprehensive background checks so criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can’t buy guns.  That protects my rights and my family,” the man says in one ad.

The ads will target Republican and Democratic senators in Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  

But Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, dismissed Bloomberg’s ad buy Sunday and called the New York City mayor’s positions on guns “reckless” and “insane.”

"He can't spend enough of his $27 billion to impose his will on the American people," LaPierre said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday.  "They don’t want him in their restaurants. They don’t want him in their homes. They don’t want him telling what food to eat. They sure don’t want him telling what self-defense firearms to own. He can’t buy America.”

The Senate will consider a comprehensive gun package when it returns from the holiday recess next month.  For many Republicans and moderate Democrats, the universal background check requirement, which LaPierre called “a speed bump for the law-abiding,” is the sticking point in the package.

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the controversial assault weapons ban would not be included as part of the package. Instead, it will receive a vote as an amendment but is not expected to receive approval from the full Senate.

Despite the measure not making it into the comprehensive plan, Bloomberg stood behind the assault weapons ban while acknowledging the measure is “difficult” for some lawmakers to sign onto.

“I don't think there's ever been an issue where the public has spoken so clearly, where Congress hasn't eventually understood and done the right thing,” Bloomberg said.  “We have a lot of work ahead of us. I don't think we should give up on the assault weapons ban. But clearly it is a more difficult issue for a lot of people.”

President Obama urged lawmakers to thoroughly consider all of the gun measures that have been presented in the Senate, including the assault weapons ban, in his weekly address Saturday.

“These ideas shouldn’t be controversial – they’re common sense.  They’re supported by a majority of the American people.  And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote,” the president said.

“Right now, we have a real chance to reduce gun violence in America, and prevent the very worst violence.  We have a unique opportunity to reaffirm our tradition of responsible gun ownership, and also do more to keep guns out of the hands of criminals or people with a severe mental illness,” he said. “We’ve made progress over the last three months, but we’re not there yet.  And in the weeks ahead, I hope members of Congress will join me in finishing the job – for our communities and, most importantly, for our kids.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


GOP Frosh Bill Would Fund Cops in Schools

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A freshman House Republican is introducing a bill that could bring the National Rifle Association’s proposal for more armed police officers guarding schools to fruition.

The Protect America’s Schools Act would require the government to spend an additional $30 million on Community Oriented Policing Services, specifically the Cops in Schools program, which has not been funded since FY 2005. That program’s increase would be offset by rescinding $30 million in unspent funds from the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA].

“The [Cops in Schools] program is specifically designed to give local law enforcement agencies additional resources to hire new police officers tasked with policing our schools and providing safety education,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., writes in an updated letter seeking cosponsors. “Congress cannot allow tragedies like Newtown to take place without taking action.”

The Cops in Schools program was first created by President Bill Clinton in 1998 with a $60 million grant for the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Before the program was cut in 2005, the government spent over $750 million to place more than 6,500 police officers in schools.

Meadows is expected to introduce the legislation by Friday afternoon, according to his communications director Lisa Boothe.

Shortly after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre argued that the answer to gun violence in schools is an armed security force made up of trained volunteers to protect students at every school across the country.

“It’s not just our duty to protect [our children], it’s our right to protect them,” LaPierre said Dec. 21. “The NRA knows there are millions of qualified active and reserved police, active and reserve military, security professionals, rescue personnel, an extraordinary corps of qualified trained citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every single school.”

Later that day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi conceded that gun violence is a “complicated” issue, but she said the NRA’s proposal “is not a positive force” in the renewed debate over the nation’s gun laws.

“For the NRA and others to sort of shield themselves by saying it’s the mentally ill or something, and therefore we have to have more armed cops in the schools or more guns in the school — what are they — are they going to have [a gun] on the teacher’s desk?” Pelosi, D-Calif., exclaimed Dec. 21. “Wait a minute, man with a gun; I have it locked up someplace. Wait until I go get it. I mean, this — this just doesn’t make sense. We’ve got to reduce violence.”

Democrats unveiled the House task force’s plan to crack down on gun violence last week, calling on Congress to enact an assault weapons ban, outlaw high-capacity assault magazines, and put in place universal background checks for every firearm purchase. The task force recommended 15 steps to curb gun violence, but more armed police officers in schools was not among its proposals.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


LaPierre Holds His Ground on Opposing Universal Background Checks

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Not budging an inch from his testimony before a Senate panel last week, National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne LaPierre told Fox News Sunday he remains adamantly opposed to universal background checks as a way of curbing gun violence in the U.S.

LaPierre objects to White House attempts to close the so-called gun show loophole that exempts buyers from background checks.

The NRA chief argues, "It's a fraud to call it universal, it's never going to be universal, the criminals aren't going to comply with it, they could care less."

According to LaPierre, the real victims of any new government-imposed system restricting gun ownership are "law-abiding people," who will be caught up in bureaucratic red tape while criminals continue to skate around law.

LaPierre believes that enforcing present laws, not adding new ones, are what a majority of Americans want.  The NRA has recommended putting armed cops and guards at all schools to keep children safe from shooting tragedies such as last December's mass killing in Newtown, Conn.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mark Kelly, NRA's Wayne LaPierre to Testify at Gun Violence Hearing

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images | Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday in the first congressional hearing on gun violence since the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month.

Kelly, whose wife was seriously injured in the mass shooting that killed six people in Tucson, Ariz., two years ago, will appear on the panel, just weeks after launching Americans for Responsible Solutions, an organization promoting the implementation of universal background checks and limits on high capacity magazines.

"Overwhelmingly, you told us that universal background checks and limiting access to high capacity magazines were top priorities -- and I'll make sure to address each of those ideas in my opening remarks," Kelly wrote in an email to supporters on Tuesday.  Kelly asked the group's allies to sign a petition calling on Congress to pass legislation on both issues.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is LaPierre, who states the NRA's opposition to universal background checks and urges legislators not to "blame" legal gun owners by enacting new gun control laws.

"Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals.  Nor do we believe the government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families," LaPierre will say on Wednesday, according to prepared remarks released by the NRA.

"Proposing more gun control laws -- while failing to enforce the thousands we already have -- is not a serious solution to reducing crime," says LaPierre in his prepared text.

In the wake of the shooting in Newtown, the NRA advocated placing armed security guards in every school in America, an initiative LaPierre will promote in Wednesday's hearing, arguing that "it's time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children."

In an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer earlier this month, Kelly and Giffords said they hope the Sandy Hook shooting, in which 20 children and six adults died, will spur legislative action on gun policy.

"Enough," Giffords said.

"After the shooting in Tucson, there was talk about addressing some of these issues, [and] again after [the movie theater massacre in] Aurora, [Colo.]," Kelly said.  "I'm hopeful that this time is different, and I think it is.  Twenty first-graders being murdered in their classrooms is a very personal thing for everybody."

Wednesday's hearing is the first meeting ever for Kelly and LaPierre, according to an interview Kelly gave to CNN Tuesday.  Kelly, who has shot at an NRA practice range with his wife, noted that he is a gun enthusiast but is not a member of the NRA.

"You would think with my background I would be a member of the NRA.  I own a gun.  I recently bought a hunting rifle a few months ago.  I went through a background check.  It took I think about 20 minutes.  It's a small price to pay to make us safer.  We're not going to stop every one of these mass shootings.  We're not going to stop every murder with a handgun in our cities, but I think we'd go a long way to reducing the violence and preventing some," Kelly told CNN.

The hearing is titled "What Should America Do About Gun Violence?"  Others testifying include Professor Nicholas Johnson of Fordham University School of Law, Baltimore Chief of Police James Johnson, and Gayle Trotter, an attorney and senior fellow at the Independent Women's Forum.

Giffords will also appear at the hearing alongside her husband, ABC News confirmed.  She will give an opening statement.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


NRA Predicts Assault Weapons Ban Won't Pass Congress

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- No matter what kind of recommendations Vice President Joe Biden's group makes to the president to curb gun violence, National Rifle Association President David Keene says a possible renewal of the assault weapons ban won't get through Congress.

Interviewed on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, Keene said the latest push by gun control advocates to reinstate a law against assault rifles and high-volume magazines, like the ones found on the Newtown, Conn., shooter, is doomed to fail on Capitol Hill.

The NRA made its own recommendation a week after 20 children and six adults died at the hands of a lone gunman, proposing armed guards and cops at every school in the nation.

Keene said limiting the availability of high-powered arsenals won't reduce gun deaths, telling State of the Union it would be far better to treat the mentally ill and restrict their access to weapons.

The Biden group could give President Obama a long series of recommendations, including universal background checks.  But the vice president has already indicated it will go far beyond the few steps the NRA proposed.

As for the talks Biden held with NRA officials last week, Keene dismissed them as nothing more than lip service, contending the White House already knows what it has in mind to curb gun sales, which the group likens to gutting Second Amendment rights.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Gun Control Advocates See 'Opportune Moment' as Biden Readies Proposals

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Still days away from any announcement of the White House's proposals for addressing gun violence -- and less than one month since a mass shooting claimed the lives of 27 people, including 20 first graders, in Newtown, Conn. -- Americans are lining up around the block to buy guns.

And though gun control advocates say this is an "opportune moment" to enact stricter gun controls, the National Rifle Association is vowing to fight what it calls "a real threat to Second Amendment rights."

As ABC News first reported, December saw an unprecedented spike in background checks. A record 2.78 million registered for background checks last month, compared with 1.86 million in December 2011. Guns have disappeared from store walls, with buyers aware that the Obama administration wants changes.

Proposed changes could affect not only gun laws, but also mental health spending and current policies on violent movies and video games.

"This is an unusually opportune moment for the president to advance a policy goal like gun control, if he is of a mind to do it, even if Congress is resistant," gun expert and State University of New York Cortland political science professor Robert Spitzer said.

Vice President Joe Biden met with law enforcement, at-risk youth advocacy communities, national service organizations, the mental health community, interfaith groups, the entertainment industry, and gun owners themselves this week to get a variety of perspectives on gun violence issues.

In a meeting with representatives from the video game industry, including members of Electronic Arts, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, and Activision Blizzard, Inc., the makers of the highly popular "Call of Duty" games, Biden said he asked for help.

"We're anxious to see if there's anything you can suggest to us that you think would be -- would help, as this president said, diminish the possibility, even if it only saved one kid's life," the vice president said Friday.

The makers of video games cite research that finds no connection between violent video games and violent crime.

"There is no evidence that suggest that exposure to violent video games is associated with violent criminal behavior," said Dr. Christopher Ferguson, professor of psychology at Texas A&M International University.

But Dr. Victor Strasburger, chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine and pediatrics professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, said today's video games are more real, more intense than anything that's come before.

"Kids spend an incredible amount of time with the media. They see increasingly violent media," he said. "Why in this country would we spend $250 billion a year on advertising if we didn't think advertising affected people?"

Biden is expected to provide three major recommendations on the future of gun control.

Among the recommendations could be reinstituting the assault rifle ban. A ban was passed in 1994 as part of a crime bill, but expired 10 years later with its effectiveness still highly debated.

Universal background checks are also expected to be recommended. Currently, background checks are only conducted when a gun is purchased at a retailer. Universal background check would extend to any private sale of a gun, eliminating the loophole of gun shows.

Biden may also recommend limiting magazine clips, possibly banning high-capacity clips and restricting gun users to 10 rounds of ammunition, sparking what some call a "war on ammo."

The NRA, the most powerful gun lobby, is prepared for battle, vowing to fight any proposed changes to current gun legislation to protect gun owners' rights.

"I think that's a real threat to their Second Amendment rights, and we intend to do all we can to protect them," NRA president David Keene said.

Gun control advocates hope that President Obama, fresh off his reelection victory, will be able to tap into the nation's outrage over the murder of 20 first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School to get changes through Congress.

Spitzer said he is not sure whether that momentum will be enough.

"I think the likelihood that Congress will enact a sweeping set of gun control now is unlikely, but I think it's possible, because the conditions exist right now that are very similar to conditions that existed in the past when Congress did enact stronger gun laws," Spitzer said.

Biden is expected to make his recommendations Tuesday, and he has suggested that the president may be able to make some changes on his own using executive orders.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Biden Gun Violence Meetings: NRA Criticism Draws No Comment

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden described his meeting with the National Rifle Association Thursday as “productive” and said that even advocates for gun owners do not agree on one single solution to minimizing gun violence

“I thought we had a very straightforward, productive meeting,” Biden told reporters at the beginning of his meeting with representatives from the video game industry Friday.

Asked what he thought about the NRA’s stinging statement after the meeting yesterday, Biden only said, “I don’t have any comment on what anybody said about the meetings.”

Shortly after Thursday’s meeting, the NRA blasted Biden, saying the administration is not trying to produce legitimate ideas about how to curb gun violence and instead went after the Second Amendment.

“We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the Second Amendment,” the NRA said Thursday. “While claiming that no policy proposals would be ‘prejudged,’ this task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners — honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans.”

“It is unfortunate that this Administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems,” the NRA said. “We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of Congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works — and what does not.”

The vice president tried to draw a distinction between the NRA and other gun ownership groups he met with this week, saying, “There is actually difference among them as well. It’s not a uniform view.”

Biden, who was joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, met Friday with representatives from the video game industry, including members of Electronic Arts, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, and Activision Blizzard, Inc., the makers of the highly popular Call of Duty games.

In the weeks after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the video game industry was criticized for promoting violent video games, but Biden assured the group that he was keeping an open mind.

“I come to this meeting with no judgment. You all know the judgments other people have made,” Biden said.

“There’s no silver bullet, there’s no, as one of my friends said, no seat belt that you can put on to assure that you will not be in this circumstance again,” he said.  “I want you to know you have not been, quote, singled out for help, but we’ve asked a whole lot of people.”

The vice president made no reference to an assault weapons ban, a topic which has not come up in the public portion of his meetings this week, raising questions about the administration’s intent to pursue such a ban.

Biden said he’s still “shooting for Tuesday” as his deadline to submit recommendations to the president.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Biden to Meet with NRA, Walmart on Day Two of Gun Talks

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Joe Biden will start day two of this week's meetings on gun violence on Thursday, and the participants in the latest round of talks will include two powerhouses in the gun industry -- the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Walmart, one of the largest sellers of firearms in the country.

Spokesmen for the NRA and Walmart confirmed representatives from their organizations will be included in the meetings Thursday.  Advocates for sportsmen, women's groups, wildlife groups and gun owners will also be there.  The vice president is slated to meet with members of the entertainment industry in the evening.

James J. Baker, the NRA's top lobbyist, will attend the meeting on behalf of the organization.  The NRA called for armed officers to be placed in every school after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December.

"We are sending a representative to hear what they have to say," Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the NRA, said.

Walmart initially turned down an invitation to participate in the talks but reversed its decision after it "underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person," a spokesman said.

"We take this issue very seriously and are committed staying engaged in this discussion as the administration and Congress work toward a consensus on the right path forward," David Tovar, vice president of corporate communications for Walmart, said.

The latest meetings come one day after Biden held a first round of talks this week with gun safety advocate groups and victims and survivors of gun violence.  Speaking to reporters before the meeting, the vice president expressed the administration's commitment to develop effective gun policy by considering all ideas.  He suggested the administration would be ready to take executive action on the issue, which would not require help from Congress.

"We're here today to deal with a problem that requires our immediate action, urgent action.  And the president and I are determined to take action," Biden told reporters Wednesday before a meeting in his ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.  "I want to make it clear that we are not going to get caught up in the notion [that] unless we can do everything, we're going to do nothing."

"There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken.  We haven't decided what that is yet, but we're compiling it all with the help the attorney general and all the rest of the cabinet members, as well as legislative action, we believe, is required," Biden said.

Biden also held conference calls with 15 governors and 16 state and local elected officials on Wednesday.

Shortly after the shootings in which 26 children and educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month, President Obama assigned Biden to head a task force and offer suggestions on curbing gun violence.

"Every once in a while there's something that awakens the conscience of the country, and that tragic event did in a way like nothing I've seen in my career," Biden said on Wednesday.

Biden's group is required to submit recommendations to the president by the end of the month.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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