Vice President Joe Biden tipped his hat today and revealed, at least partially, what his set of recommendations to curb gun violence will include.
At a brief appearance Thursday ahead of his day of meetings with gun rights advocates, Biden previewed what those recommendations might be, saying he has had “a lot of discussion” about closing the so-called “gun show loophole” and saying “I’ve never heard so much talk about high-capacity magazines” as he has during the meetings of his task force.
Biden went beyond the gun show loophole, saying he had heard a lot about “universal background checks during private sales.” Should that and the magazine ban make it into a final White House package, expect both to garner serious opposition from gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association.
Biden also said he’s held discussions on “the whole question of the ability of any federal agency to do any research on the issue of gun violence.” According to the White House pool report of the appearance, Biden “compared the current limits on federal data gathering with the 1970s restrictions on federal research over the cause of traffic fatalities” and said here was a need to gather information on ‘what kind of weapons are used most to kill people’ and ‘what kind of weapons are trafficked weapons.’”
I can attest to the latter point, because when I initially began looking for statistics on gun violence, I quickly noticed that most of the relevant data is very old. And some of the most important statistics that are relevant to our current discussion, such as the idea of using a gun to defend yourself, date back to the late 80s and early 90s.
For example, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, only 1 percent of victims of violent crime use a gun to defend themselves, but their most recent study was completed in 1992. I doubt the number has gone up by a significant amount since then, if at all, but because the data set is so old it's difficult to use it in discussion today.
And this problem is not unique to writers or researchers, it's also a problem for congress. In fact the latest report on gun violence compiled by the Congressional Research Service in November of 2012 cites the same very old numbers.
Ironically, and depressingly, coverage of Biden's preview was interrupted this afternoon by news of another school shooting.
[B]efore Biden could finish his presentation, CNN cut into his remarks to report on another school shooting. This morning, “at least two people were shot at Taft High School” at 9:00AM and the shooter has reportedly been taken into custody.
TAFT, Calif. - Officials have said that at least two people were shot at Taft High School.
The shooting happened at about 9 a.m., and reports indicate that at least two people were shot.
The shooter was taken into custody at about 9:20 a.m.
Joe Biden will deliver his set of recommendations on Tuesday, January 15th.