NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Two days before Vice President Joseph Biden was due to give President Barack Obama recommendation on curbing gun violence, the National Rifle Association has said an assault weapons ban will nto pass in Congress.
Meanwhile, as CBS 2’s Don Dahler reported, in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn, and the ensuing gun control debate, gun sales have spiked across the country.
“People are scared; worried,” said gun vendor John Perme. “They don’t know what’s going to happen.”
NRA President David Keene claimed Sunday that there is not enough support in Washington to pass gun control laws that would stop sales.
“I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through this Congress,” Keene said.
On Tuesday, Vice President Biden’s gun violence task force will give President Obama a set of recommendations. Among them are expected to be universal background checks, restrictions on sales of assault weapons, and high capacity magazines.
Congress allowed the ban to expire in 2004.
Opponents said a ban is not the answer.
“To somehow believe that just by taking guns away from people, I don’t think history shows that’s the right way to do it,” said U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
But some members of congress say the Newtown school shooting made it clear that something needs to be done.
“There’s no way they are going to take your Second Amendment rights,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) “We have to look at how do we cure this culture of mass violence.”
And while lawmakers are busy sorting out that solution, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is calling on the nation’s largest gun retailers to stop selling assault weapons until a decision is made.
“In Florida alone, there were nearly 5,000 background checks requested on the day of Sandy Hook, as opposed to the day before where there were 3,000,” said Schumer.
“When a mainstream store like Wal-Mart says ‘we’re not doing it,’ it’s going to make people think twice,” Schumer said.
New York’s senior senator warned that sales of assault-style weapons could surge later this month when pro-gun advocates hold “Gun Appreciation Day.”
Schumer said according to organizers, the purpose of Gun Appreciation Day is to ramp up gun sales.
“These groups are encouraging individuals from all over the country to go to their local gun stores to purchase assault weapons,” said Schumer.
Wal-Mart is the nation’s biggest gun retailer.
Dick’s Sporting Goods already has agreed to temporarily stop selling guns like the one used in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting.
On Dec. 14, gunman Adam Lanza, using a Bushmaster .223 semiautomatic rifle, killed 20 first graders and six educators inside the Newtown, Conn. school before killing himself.
In the days after the school rampage, the NRA laid out its proposal to combat future school shootings. The powerful gun lobbying group called for armed guards in every school in America and better access to mental health treatment.
The proposal was met with sharp criticism from both sides of the aisle.
Biden met with the NRA and other pro-gun groups last week to discuss gun control.
Other Democrats also voiced support Sunday for sweeping gun control reforms.
“Newtown fundamentally changed things and the NRA just doesn’t get this. They’ve got to come to the table on gun control just as they’re saying they’re coming to the table on mental health because their previous allies and backers in the House and the Senate aren’t with them anymore,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said on CNN’s “State Of The Union” on Sunday.
“I think the nation is ready for more thorough background checks so that we cover the 40 percent that now are not covered. I think the nation is ready for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said on Fox News Sunday.
Last week, Blumenthal announced plans to introduce a bill to require background checks on ammunition. The measure would also require ammunition sellers to report large sales to federal authorities.
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