Murkowski Critical of VP Biden Gun Control Comment
FAIRBANKS - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday expressed concern about assertions by Vice President Joe Biden that President Obama could act by executive order to increase gun control.
Biden made the remark Wednesday at the first meeting of a White House gun-violence study group created by Obama following the Dec. 14 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., in which 26 people were killed, including 20 students. Obama put Biden in charge of the group and making recommendations.
“The president is going to act. There are executive orders — executive action that can be taken,” Biden reportedly said at the meeting, attended by gun-safety advocates and gun violence victims. “We haven’t decided what that is yet, but we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and — and all the rest of the Cabinet members — as well as legislative action, we believe, is required.”
Murkowski, in a meeting with the Daily News-Miner editorial board, said she could accept the use of executive orders to heighten the enforcement of existing gun laws but not to implement new gun control rules. She said “substantial” measures, such as restrictions on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, need to be debated by Congress.
“I think it would be wrong to use executive order that way,” she said.
Murkowski, R-Alaska, also said Biden is “very wise” to have the White House gun panel meet with representatives of the National Rifle Association. That meeting is scheduled to occur today and will be attended by representatives of other gun organizations and gun retailers.
Murkowski said gun owners need to be included in any productive debate about firearms restrictions, rather than being demonized as part of the problem. But she added that she was embarrassed by the NRA’s initial response to the shooting, which included a call to place armed guards in all public schools.