As the Obama administration gets set to offer gun control legislation, it’s said to be mulling a new strategy that could help it overcome opposition from gun rights supporters and their allies in Congress: Aiming to pass separate measures as individual bills, rather than wrapping everything together into one comprehensive bill.
Vice President Biden, who’s leading the White House task force on the issue, hinted at that approach before meeting with gun-control groups—including the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, States United to Prevent Gun Violence—Wednesday afternoon.
“We are not going to get caught up in the notion, unless we can do everything, we’re not going to do anything,” Biden said.
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent suggested in a blog post’ Wednesday afternoon that the idea of separate bills is on the table.
One reason that approach might make sense: Polls suggest that discrete gun control measures—like banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, closing the gun show loophole, and improving background check systems—are broadly popular. Already, Democratic lawmakers have introduced separate bills to address all three of those issues, and others. Introducing these steps as separate bills might make it easier to win public support, and harder for opponents to portray the effort as a sweeping initiative to take away guns. Gun rights groups—some on the far-right fringes of the political debate—are holding a Gun Appreciation Day next Friday, where they plan to tell lawmakers, “hands off our guns.”
Biden also said today that the administration is considering using executive orders as a way to address gun violence without congressional approval. He did not elaborate on that idea.