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NAT’L – GUN POLITICS – Biden’s key picks signal path on gun control

Presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden sent a clear signal about his gun control agenda as he named his picks for top health care policy posts Monday, announcing his intent to nominate vocal proponents of stricter firearms controls to key positions in the incoming administration. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Mr. Biden’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, has spent the past several years defending his state’s strict gun laws in court and has championed tighter restrictions for much of his lengthy career in public office. Dr. Vivek Murthy, Mr. Biden’s pick to reprise his role as U.S. surgeon general, made the case during the Obama administration that gun violence should be treated as a public health issue as Mr. Biden helped lead the charge for stricter controls when he was Mr. Obama’s vice president. Brandon Combs, president of the California-based Firearms Policy Coalition, said Mr. Becerra initially seemed more approachable on gun rights issues than presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris, who was Mr. Becerra’s predecessor as California attorney general.

“That being said, it didn’t change any policies,” Mr. Combs said. “But he was a politician in D.C. for years, and that’s exactly kind of what we expect.” Brandon Combs, president of the California-based Firearms Policy Coalition, said Mr. Becerra initially seemed more approachable on gun rights issues than presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris, who was Mr. Becerra’s predecessor as California attorney general. Before becoming California’s attorney general, Mr. Becerra represented Los Angeles in Congress from 1993 to 2017.

In recent years, Mr. Becerra’s office has defended state restrictions in court such as California’s ban on military-style “assault” weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.  [full article]

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