Brian X. McCrone
Pennsylvania’s largest gun violence prevention group, CeasefirePA, got a seat at Vice President Joe Biden’s table Wednesday morning to brainstorm with other similar-minded groups from across the country.
CeasefirePA’s executive director Shira Goodman said about a dozen groups from states as far as Arizona and Wisconsin met with Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder for two hours in Washington D.C. to recommend action for Biden’s well-publicized Gun Violence Task Force.
“We gave our vision for the (Vice President’s) task force,” Goodman said. “It changed me. I left feeling very optimistic about the year ahead, that this issue is not going to be left on the shelf.”
A general consensus from the meeting, she said, included the need for help from the federal level to organize background checks on all gun purchases. Another issue the groups seemed determined to address this year is bans on assault weapons ban and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
“I shared the fact that Pennsylvania has 500,000 records in the state’s Instant Check System that have not been shared with the federal database,” Goodman said., noting that she was aware of just one name out of the half million records that has been entered into the federal Instant Check System.
Biden has a busy schedule this month. President Barack Obama gave his task force a deadline of Jan. 31 to come up with recommendations for slowing gun violence. He’s set to meet Thursday with officials from the National Rifle Association and Walmart, which sells firearms at some of its department stores.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey is on Biden’s gun task force, but has expressed pessimism in the past about a change in America’s gun culture through legislation.