NRA vows to fight everything on Biden's gun agenda
(CBS News) Vice President Biden has been tasked with coming up with recommendations for curbing gun violence. On Thursday he met with the National Rifle Association and gun rights groups.
There were no illusions on either side about what would come from these meetings, but for pure political and public relations reasons, neither side could ignore the other. They certainly didn't -- and deep differences remain.
The meeting lasted more than ninety minutes. Afterward, CBS News spoke with NRA President David Keene, who did not attend the session with Biden.
He described the conversation as one-sided.
"We were disappointed in a sense, because prior to the meeting, they made a number of statements from the White House that they haven't made up their mind," Keene said. "But at the meeting, the vice president made it clear that in terms of firearms, they have made up their mind."
Keene said the NRA will take its lobbying might and growing membership list to Congress to fight every item on Biden's agenda, from a reinstated assault weapons ban to a universal criminal and mental health background check and bans on high capacity ammunition magazines. Since the Newtown shooting Dec. 17, the NRA has attracted 100,000 new members, bringing its total membership count to 4.2 million.
The group also opposes increased federal research into gun violence, another Biden priority.
"I think there are a lot of people who would like to completely gut the second amendment, and to deprive Americans of the rights that they enjoy under the Second Amendment," Keene said. "Are they going to be able to do that? I don't think so."
In a separate meeting with hunters and conservation groups, Biden appealed for consensus.
"Even if what we do only saves one life, it makes sense," he said. "And I think we can do a great deal without in any way imposing on or impinging on the rights of the Second Amendment, that the Second Amendment guarantees."
The NRA says it knows after the Newtown shooting, they're facing a gun control debate unlike any in its history. They may be more politically isolated than they were in 1994 when the assault weapons ban was first pushed tenaciously through Congress by then-Sen. Joe Biden.
(Watch: Biden calls for immediate action on gun control)
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