WASHINGTON -- Just two days before Vice President Joe Biden delivers a comprehensive set of recommendations on gun policy, National Rifle Association President David Keene rejected the reported outline of suggestions Sunday and dismissed any ban on assault weapons or high-capacity magazines as a non-starter.
"We don't think any of those things work," he said in appearance on CNN's "State of the Union." "You should absolutely be able to compromise on things that accomplish the purpose. Our objection to those things is that they interfere with people's rights without doing anything to solve the problem."
Biden on Tuesday is expected to issue a series of proposals to address gun violence, in response to last month's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Based on initial reports, the White House will make more comprehensive background checks a priority and continue to push for the reinstatement of an assault weapons ban.
But despite having an NRA representative present for a meeting with the vice president last week, Keene doesn't foresee his organization and the White House reaching an agreement on how to proceed.
On Sunday, he called for a greater focus on mental health and said those who are mentally ill and potentially dangerous should be placed on a list of people prohibited from purchasing firearms. He did not raise the NRA's initial suggestion to place armed guards in schools across the country, which was not only met with widespread criticism but has also proven to be ineffective in prior mass shootings.
The NRA president predicted a difficult road ahead for those pursuing a ban on assault weapons and said he believed he had enough support to prevent such legislation from passing.
"They are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through Congress," Keene said, adding that even outlawing high-capacity magazines would be difficult. "The fact is that we live in a society where first of all, we have constitutional rights, and secondly, there are millions upon millions of Americans who value the rights that they have under the Second Amendment and who are involved in the shooting sports or use firearms for self-defense, and we think that they will be heard."
But while an assault weapons ban remains a divisive issue on Capitol Hill, several of its opponents have said they could get behind action on high-capacity magazines. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called high-capacity magazines "a whole different issue," while Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), who has enjoyed a lifetime "A" rating from the NRA, said he would be "willing to listen to the possibility of the capacity of a magazine."