Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

White House fights to continue gun debate

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WASHINGTON -- The White House is fighting to keep the momentum for new gun legislation amid signs the topic is losing ground in Congress to other pressing issues, less than a month after a horrific elementary school shooting.

Vice-President Joe Biden has invited the powerful National Rifle Association and other gun-owner groups for talks at the White House on Thursday. Today, the vice-president will meet with victims' organizations and representatives from the video game and entertainment industries. The administration's goal is to forge consensus over proposals to curb gun violence.

U.S. President Barack Obama wants Biden to report back to him with policy proposals by the end of January. Obama has vowed to move swiftly on the recommendations.

"He is mindful of the need to act," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

But as the shock and sorrow over the Connecticut massacre fades, the tough fight facing the White House and gun-control backers is growing clearer. Gun-rights advocates are digging in against tighter legislation, conservative groups are launching pro-gun initiatives and the Senate's top Republican has warned it could be spring before Congress begins considering any gun legislation.

"The biggest problem we have at the moment is spending and debt," Sen. Mitch McConnell said on Sunday.

Tuesday marked the second anniversary of the Tucson, Ari., attack that killed six people and critically injured former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords took a prominent role in the gun debate on Tuesday's anniversary. She and husband Mark Kelly wrote in an op-ed published in USA Today their Americans for Responsible Solutions initiative would help raise money to support greater gun control efforts "to balance the influence of the gun lobby."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 9, 2013 A8

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