Gun Issues Heat Up On the Hill

Anti-violence legislation is set to turn into one of the politically divisive debates in Congress come Tuesday.  It is expected that on that day, Vice-President Joe Biden will reveal recommendations from a special panel on gun violence that President Obama tapped to help prevent future tragedies like the mass-shooting Newtown, Connecticut.

Already, the National Rife Association (NRA), a pro-gun industry lobbying group, has drawn a line in the sand against reforms such as requiring universal background checks on guns and banning military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines (like those used in the Newtown shootings). Emerging from a meeting with the Vice-President on Thursday, an NRA spokesman blasted the White House’s attempts to better regulate the purchasing of firearms and vowed to fight any congressional action on the matter.

The NRA’s deep reach into elected official’s pockets has only recently been challenged by a group supported by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG).  The group, supported by more than 800 mayors, seeks to stop criminals from being able to obtain guns while also protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens.

Over the past month, 400,000 new members have joined MAIG and its “Demand A Plan” petition has garnered over 900,000 signers.  The NRA claims that 100,000 new members have joined over the last 18 days and that membership now stands at 4.2 million.

As the debate over anti-violence legislation grows, things are about to heat up on Capital Hill.

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