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Biden Drafts Gun Agenda While Acknowledging Weak Links to Tragedies

"If you look at every one of the tragic events that have attracted so much attention, it's hard to be able to pinpoint what you could have done to assure it wouldn't have happened," Biden said.

"But there's also things we know. We know that there's certain actions we take that have diminished, have diminished the extent of the gun violence that otherwise would be occurring in the United States."

The hints about the recommendations dropped by Biden mirrored what gun-control advocates on Capitol Hill have been pushing for in the wake of Newtown -- universal background checks that don't vary from state to state (including at gun shows and person-to-person sales), fixing a backlog of felons yet to be entered in the system for background checks, and restricting the size of gun magazines.

Biden said he's been surprised to see former Senate colleagues -- not referred to by name -- "who have been pretty universally opposed to any restrictions on gun ownership or what type of weapons can be purchased, et cetera, there is -- I've never heard quite as much about the need to do something about high-capacity magazines as I've heard spontaneously from every group that we've met with so far."

He also indicated that the recommendations could include stricter mental health checks, stiffer gun penalties in school zones, and new federal agency research on gun violence.

"One of the things that we're prohibited from doing beginning in the early part of this century, about 2004, is just even the Centers for Disease Control gathering up information about the kinds of injuries, and what are the injuries and what are the source of the injuries," Biden said.

There was no information from the Justice Department to indicate how Holder's meeting went today with retail chains who sell guns -- Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Dunham’s Sports, Gander Mountain, Sportsman’s Warehouse, and Wal-Mart.

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a member of Mayors against Illegal Guns who could also be eyeing a cabinet position in Obama's second term, said the proposals -- along with renewing the assault weapons ban -- are "a good place to start."

While endorsing the slate of measures, including "the cracks in the cheese" known as gun-show loopholes, though, Villaraigosa acknowledged the efficacy of guns in the hands of the right people on campuses.

"What happened in Newtown, what's happening over the last couple of years across the country in terms of -- these mass shootings, they need to be stopped. We need to do something about the violence. And not just responsible control laws," he said on MSNBC. "I've said, as well, in L.A. is an example. We have our police officers patrolling every school, visiting the schools on a daily basis."