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Washington Beat: White House Steps Up Efforts To Combat Gun Violence

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The White House is stepping up its efforts to combat gun violence, with a renewed push to get Congress to pass the expanded background checks the Senate blocked earlier this spring, and the vice president is warning lawmakers who block their efforts that they will face a political backlash. Washington bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report.

More than two months after the U.S. Senate blocked a bill to expand background checks on gun purchases, Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday tjat the White House is not backing down.

"I'm here to tell you that the most important message to take from here today is the President and I, our team, have not given up," Biden said.

To that end, Biden said the administration has made significant progress on implementing 21 of the 23 executive actions unveiled by the President in January, aimed at improving gun safety.

But Biden admits the White House can only do so much. So now, he's calling on Congress to reconsider the president's gun control agenda or face the political consequences.

"You will pay a price, a political price, for not, for not getting engaged and dealing with gun safety," Biden said.

It's not yet clear when or if Congress will again take up the issue. At the moment, lawmakers are engaged in another heated battle over immigration reform.

But gun safety advocates are trying to lay the ground work for a possible do-over vote.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg's group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, is touring states across the country and lobbying senators who crushed the original background check bill.

"Some of them are clearly taking a second look at background checks," said Mark Glaze of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. "They didn't understand the bill. They were misled about the bill by the gun lobby, and I think now, they're looking for a way to kind of compromise."

They need at least five senators to change their votes in order to get it through the Senate. The GOP-controlled House is another story. Still, Biden predicts lawmakers will come around after they see the political fallout from doing nothing.

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