4:24 pm Jan. 10, 2013
After a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden this afternoon, the National Rifle Association issued an unsigned statement that said it had come prepared for a "meaningful conversation" but was "disappointed" with the discussion.
"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 group said. "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."
The organization had signaled its unwillingness to participate in any gun control measures a week after the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, when the group emerged from a week-long silence with a combative press conference that attacked the idea of new gun laws, and issued a call for armed guards in every school.
Since then, the group has pledged to fight any efforts to institute new gun laws. Earlier today, the group's political and lobbying arm issued a long statement denouncing the gun-control proposals put forth by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in his State of the State speech yesterday.
The N.R.A. has focused its post-Newtown push on mental health, claiming the most effective solution to the problem of mass shootings would be to restrict the access of criminals and people with mental illnesses to guns, not to restrict the general availability of firearms or ammunition.
(The shooter in Newtown used his mother's legally licensed assault weapon to kill 27 people, 20 of whom were schoolchildren, and himself.)
"We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen," the group said in its statement today.
Biden, who has convened a series of recent meetings with advocates on both sides of the issue, said yesterday that some new gun restrictions could be imposed by executive order, a suggestion that touched off a predictable firestorm in the conservative media.
Biden said today there was a growing consensus for a ban on high-capacity magazines and in favor of "universal background checks," and said he planned to present his recommendations by Tuesday of next week.