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Wal-Mart Will Join Gun Control Talks At White House

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File photo of a Walmart. (credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a Walmart. (credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will join talks at the White House on Thursday about gun control and safety.

Vice President Joe Biden is conducting a series of gatherings this week aimed at building a consensus around proposals to curb gun violence following the deadly shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school last month.

The vice president is meeting Wednesday with victims groups and gun-safety organizations. On Thursday, Biden will meet with the National Rifle Association and other gun-owner groups. Meetings with representatives from the video-game and entertainment industries are also planned.

Wal-Mart said it previously had not planned to attend the meeting because of its senior leaders’ schedule and had spoken in advance with the Vice President’s office to share its perspective.

“We underestimated the expectation to attend the meeting on Thursday in person, so we are sending an appropriate representative to participate,” company spokesman David Tovar said in a statement Wednesday. “We take this issue very seriously and are committed staying engaged in this discussion as the administration and Congress work toward a consensus on the right path forward.”

The world’s largest retailer said it has had ongoing conversations with the Obama administration, Congress, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office, sportsmen groups, suppliers and others. The company said it has tried to strike the right balance between serving hunters and sportsmen and ensuring that it sells firearms responsibly.

President Barack Obama wants Biden to report back to him with policy proposals by the end of the month. Obama has vowed to move swiftly on the recommendations, and a proposed package is expected to include both legislative proposals and executive action.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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