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Gun background check legislation shelved by DOJ, New York Times reports

A detailed plan to improve gun background checks was put on hold at the Justice Department over a year ago, as the presidential race gained steam.

gabrielle giffords DNCEnlarge
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-NV) walks on stage during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Chip Somodevilla/AFP/Getty Images)

A detailed list of recommendations to improve gun background checks commissioned after Gabrielle Giffords' shooting over a year ago was put on hold until after the election, according to a report by the New York Times

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. reportedly asked senior Justice officials to investigate US gun-control issues and come up with improvements to the system in March 2011, after the January shooting at an event for Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, the Washington Post reported.

However, most of the recommendations were shelved amidst the presidential race, as well as the controversial investigation into the Operation Fast and Furious gun trafficking case, the Times reported. 

“Guns were not on the table,” one Justice Department official told the Washington Post. “They shut everything down over the last year.”

Obama said in his weekly address on Saturday following the Friday shooting that he wanted to take “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this; regardless of the politics.”

However, as the New York Times wrote: 

It is far from clear whether any of the proposals — which centered on improving the background check system, and did not call for banning weapons — could have prevented the massacre at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday. But the recommendations could provide a blueprint if the Obama administration chooses to take more aggressive steps to curb gun violence.

Meanwhile, California Senator Dianne Feinstein told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that she will send a new weapons bill to Congress next month so President Obama has something "to lead on" as the gun control debate heats up following this week's deadly school shooting, said CNN

"We'll be prepared to go, and I hope the nation will really help," Feinstein said, saying the bill will be "ready on the first day" lawmakers reconvene after the holiday break. 

Feinstein played a prominent role in crafting landmark 1994 legislation that banned assault weapons. 

The California democrat said she's trying to resurrect and "perfect" the bill, which expired in 2004, according to CNN

"It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation, and the possession. Not retroactively, but prospectively. It will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets," she told NBC

More from GlobalPost: Nancy Lanza, a gun enthusiast, taught her son how to shoot

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/121216/gun-background-check-legislation-shelved-doj