Joe Biden's Gun Control Recommendations Likely Will Not Include Assault Weapons Ban

Vice President Joe Biden will recommend new gun control measures to President Barack Obama which will include more comprehensive background checks and limits on ammunition magazine capacities, but will not feature a proposed assault weapons ban.

Biden will submit the proposals to Obama on Jan. 15. He discussed potential recommendations on Jan. 10 after meeting with representatives of the NRA and Wal-Mart at the White House.

"I committed to him I'd have these recommendations to him by Tuesday (Jan. 15)," Biden said. "That doesn't mean it's end of the discussion, but the public wants us to act."

While it's possible that an AWB could be included in Biden's final proposal, many observers say such a proposal could bog down Obama's declared intent to move quickly in imposing gun control measures in the wake of the Dec. 14 Newtown school shootings, even if it requires executive action to do so.

And there may not be a need for Obama to embroil himself in an AWB debate when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has already submitted a Senate bill that outlines a proposed ban that the NRA says would "adopt new definitions of 'assault weapon' that would affect a much larger variety of firearms," require owners of "assault weapons" to register them with the federal government, and require forfeiture of the firearms upon the deaths of their current owners.

During its meeting with Biden, the NRA reiterated its opposition to magazine capacity limits and any proposed AWB.

"The vice president made it clear, made it explicitly clear, that the president had already made up his mind on those issues," NRA President David Keene said following the meeting. "We made it clear that we disagree with them."

"I don't think a ban on assault weapons -- which is a ban on some of the most popular rifles in America -- is likely to get support," Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor and Second Amendment expert, told Liz Goodwin of Yahoo! News. "The 1994 ban was widely recognized to be ineffective and to be riddled with loopholes."

Goodwin writes that because the Clinton-era ban focused on cosmetic features of semi-automatic weapons, such as bayonet lugs, manufacturers could remove those features and produce legal guns that were "functionally identical to the banned weapons."

In addition, she writes, many semi-automatic weapons are more popular now, including the Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used in the Newtown shooting, which is one of the best selling rifles in America. There are at least 3 million AR-15-type rifles in America today, and semi-automatic handguns have overtaken revolvers as the most popular handguns.