Vice President Biden met with a group of retired military officials at the White House on Tuesday in a strategy session centered on how to effectively engage the public in the administration’s push for gun control.
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Xenakis, a former Army physician, said Biden will look to rally the public behind requiring background checks on private gun sales, limiting the number of bullets a firearm’s magazine can hold, and banning future sales of assault-style weapons. If there’s enough pressure, the White House hopes Congress may take action on at least some of the proposals.
“The Vice President has a great overview of all these issues,” Xenakis said. “He has a plan and he’s working with leaders in Congress to get it done. He’s got great instincts on this.”
Xenakis was one of seven former military officials at the meeting. He also appeared in a Web ad released Monday by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, urging the public to “demand a plan” from Congress.
The retired general said members of the military could help the White House move its gun control agenda.
“The vice president understands that when it comes to communicating with credibility on guns, the two groups with the most credibility are law enforcement and military officials,” he said. “We have experience with both having weapons and using them responsibly, so we can get that message out.”
Biden has been the Obama administration’s point-man on gun control. Last week he travelled to Connecticut where he gave a fiery speech to the families of shooting victims from the Newtown massacre.
“When I look at the courage you’ve shown, it’s incumbent on politicians to show some political courage too,” Biden said. “If you’re concerned about your political survival, you should be concerned about the survival of our children.”
The Senate will begin marking-up a handful of gun control bills later this week.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) “assault weapons” ban faces the stiffest opposition, but Democrats are hopeful recent gun control momentum will bring some Republicans on board with bills aimed at curbing illegal gun trafficking, requiring universal background checks, and increasing school safety.