Vice President Joe Biden has spoken to reporters two days in a row during meetings with groups who have an interest in the gun debate and he's suggested possible recommendations he'll make to President Obama Jan. 15. But he hasn't said a word about an assault weapons ban .
Instead, Biden has mentioned a potential "universal" background checks, he has mentioned curbs on high-capacity magazines, and he has floated the potential for some sort of executive order.
"My former colleagues in the Senate, who have been pretty universally opposed to any restrictions on gun ownership or what type of weapons can be purchased, et cetera… I've never quite heard as much talk about the need to do something about high-capacity magazines as I've heard spontaneously from every group that we've met with so far," Biden said Thursday during a meeting with sportsmen.
Some in the media, reading tea leaves, have taken Biden's silence at these meetings to mean the White House is moving away from pushing an assault weapons ban like the one he was a principal author of in 1994, and that Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is pushing now.
But White House officials rejected the idea that they were retreating on an assault weapons ban.
"It is absolutely not true" that the White House has decided not to push for a ban, according to a senior administration official.
On Wednesday, Brady Campaign President Dan Gross emerged and spoke at length about the assault weapons ban and ban on high-capacity magazines, saying Biden had forged "consensus" during the meeting around need to do those things. He said universal background checks had greatest consensus.
But opponents of such a ban predicted it would not have the votes to pass in Congress.
David Keene, president of the NRA, speaking on NBC Friday morning, said he doesn't believe there will be an assault weapons ban. Congress won't support it, he argued, and from his view it did nothing to stop violence when it was passed in 1994.
"I do not think there is going to be a ban on so-called assault weapons passed by Congress," he said.