You are hereNYT: N.R.A. Declines to Meet With Obama on Gun Policy

NYT: N.R.A. Declines to Meet With Obama on Gun Policy


March 14, 2011- More than two months after the Tucson shootings, the administration is calling together both the gun lobby and gun safety groups to find common ground. But President Obama has no plans to take the lead in proposing further gun control legislation, aides say, and the nation’s major gun rights group is snubbing the invitation.

On Tuesday, officials at the Justice Department will meet with gun control advocates in the first of what will be a series of meetings over the next two weeks with people on different sides of the issue, including law enforcement, retailers and manufacturers, to seek agreement on possible legislative or administrative actions.

The effort follows Mr. Obama’s call, in a column on Sunday in a Tucson newspaper, to put aside “stale policy debates” and begin “a new discussion” on ways to better enforce and strengthen existing laws to keep mentally unstable, violent and criminal people from getting guns.

But the National Rifle Association, for decades the most formidable force against proposals to limit gun sales or ownership, is refusing to join the discussion — possibly dooming it from the start, given the lobby’s clout with both parties in Congress. Administration officials had indicated they expected that the group would be represented at a meeting, perhaps on Friday.

“Why should I or the N.R.A. go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States?” said Wayne LaPierre, the longtime chief executive of the National Rifle Association.

He named Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who has almost no role in gun-related policies, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

“It shouldn’t be a dialogue about guns; it really should be a dialogue about dangerous people,” Mr. LaPierre said, adding that his group has supported proposals to prevent gun sales to the mentally ill, strengthen a national system of background checks and spur states to provide needed data.

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