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January 11th, 2013
09:43 AM ET

Richard Feldman sees progress in gun control discussions with Biden

Vice President Joe Biden will deliver recommendations on gun control to the president on Tuesday after meeting with gun advocacy groups like the NRA and National Shooting Sports Foundation. The one thing they have agreed on is universal background checks. Richard Feldman of the Independent Firearm Owners Association talks to Soledad.

Feldman thinks the discussions are headed in the right direction, “I thought we had a real conversation and it wasn’t just a lecture. We had some different positions on some issues, but really a lot more agreement on many of the multifaceted aspects of the problem than really sometimes come out in the media,” he says.

The conversation was surrounded by civil commitment, penalties for gun running, problems with alcohol, tobacco, and firearms- all components considered in the gun violence discussion. Feldman sees this as progress compared to past attempts to come to a resolution, he says, “If we focus correctly on the problems, we stand a real chance of doing something and having solutions that are going to work. But, if we go back to the bumper stickers of the past and have two sides just yelling past each other and really not talking about the same issue at the same time, then no we are not going to solve anything.”

The NRA said after the meeting, “We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the second amendment.” However, Feldman says the discussions have everyone on the same page on taking background checks seriously, “Our organization believes strongly that at gun shows there ought to have background checks on the transfer of a firearm at a gun show. Right now, dealers have to make that transfer, but private citizens don’t. […] But, when we talk about universal checks, people may not understand what that means. That means when you give a gun to your child, or to your spouse, or you sell a gun to a friend or a neighbor, there is an important distinction there. You know who you sold the gun to."

The problem isn’t with people who buy guns lawfully. The problem is that there are 500,000 guns stolen every year in this country. The meeting resulted in common ground on one key issue, he says, “Everybody in the room yesterday, NRA included, was all in favor of enhanced penalties for strawman purchases…a lot of agreement in the room yesterday."

Though he is positive about reaching a compromise, Feldman is confident that negotiations must be made. He says, "There will be disagreement on a couple of key issues and that’s why we have a congress and this issue isn’t coming to an end next Tuesday. There will be hearings on the hill and this is going to be a big fight.”