Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with representatives of the video game industry as part of reach-out efforts in the search for ideas that will form the basis of proposals on how to tackle the problem of gun violence in the US.
He is expected to present his group's recommendations to President Barack Obama on Tuesday.
AP reports that Biden, at the meeting with representatives of the video game industry, will be exploring the cultural factors contributing to gun violence.The discussion will involve recommendations on how to address mental health issues in relation to violence on TV, in movies and video games. Fortunately, these are issues that have support across the spectrum of opinions on gun legislation.
The vice president, who is heading the task force set up to explore approaches to tackle escalating gun violence in the country, met with some representatives of the entertainment industry, including Comcast Corp and Motion Picture Association of America on Thursday.
Biden's meeting with representatives of the video game industry follows the meeting with representatives of the National Rifle Association (NRA).The NRA, as widely expected, rejected the administration's push for a ban on assault weapons and restriction of high-capacity ammunition magazines. The NRA reiterated its opposition to the government's moves after the meeting.
David Keene of the NRA, later told NBC News that there persists a fundamental difference between the NRA and the Obama administration on what would constitute effective approach to curbing gun violence.
Richard Feldman, the president of the Independent Firearm Owners Association, also said that while there was general agreement on the need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, the administration gave the impression that it had already made up its mind that it would pursue its agenda for tighter gun control legislation and did not appear willing to allow "wiggle room" on the issue.
Keene said after the NRA's meeting with Biden: "The vice president made it clear, made it explicitly clear, that the president had already made up his mind on those issues. We made it clear that we disagree with them."
Questions are now being asked whether the Obama administration will be able to push an assault rifle ban legislation through the Congress. NRA's David Keene does not think so. He said on NBC's "Today": "I do not think that there's going to be a ban on so-called assault weapons passed by the Congress."
Observers note, however, that while it is unclear what sort of recommendations the task force should expect from the groups it is to talking to, it is clearer what sort of recommendations it is hoping it will be able to present to the government.
The Motion Picture Association of America has said in a statement that they "look forward to doing our part to seek meaningful solutions."
White House press secretary Jay Carney, said last month: "It is certainly the case that we in Washington have the potential, anyway, to help elevate issues that are of concern, elevate issues that contribute to the scourge of gun violence in this country, and that has been the case in the past, and it certainly could be in the future."
Obama's administration is looking to receiving proposals to augment its decision to seek ban on sales of assault weapons, impose limits on high capacity ammunition magazines and universal background checks on gun buyers. Biden's proposals are also expected to include recommendations to address mental health care, violence on television, in movies and video games.
The Obama administration may count on the NRA to oppose its efforts to push through a ban on assault weapons and limit high capacity ammunition magazines. The administration has, however, fixed these goals at the top of its agenda following the tragic Sandy Hook massacre.
AP reports that White House officials said the vice president did not expect to win over the NRA and other gun groups on the key issues.
Biden said during a separate White House meeting with sportsmen and wildlife groups: "I committed to him (Obama) I'd have these recommendations to him by Tuesday. It doesn't mean it's the end of the discussion, but the public wants us to act."
Biden said that while the administration was not so naive as to expect that any set of recommendations would eliminate gun violence altogether "there has got to be some common ground, to not solve every problem but diminish the probability that our children are at risk in their schools and diminish the probability that firearms will be used in violent behavior in our society."
While the top leaders of the video game industry meet the VP, Vanity Fair reflects tongue-in-cheek that it hopes “other video game industry representatives... 12-year-old boy with Cheeto-stained cargo shorts, Sonic the Hedgehog, and a 30-something computer programmer who recently Googled whether losing your virginity in World of Warcraft 'counts'" will be represented at the meeting.