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Biden continues gun-control fight

Scripps Howard Foundation Wire

Published: Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 14:06


SHFWire photo by Jacqueline DelPilar

Vice President Joe Biden says Tuesday that, despite a Congressional defeat in April, the administration will continue to campaign for better gun safety. He spoke at a White House event June 18..

WASHINGTON - Vice President Joe Biden addressed the ongoing fight for tighter gun restrictions by the Obama administration in a speech on June 18.

Despite the failure in April to pass legislationthat would make it harder to own and buy guns, Biden said the administration will continue to push for gun safety and he and his colleagues “have not given up.”

The proposed amendments to the gun bill won a majority in the Senate, but failed to meet the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster. Biden reminded lawmakers, including members of Congress who do not support the changes, that they will “pay a political price.”

Biden said that President Barack Obama made a promise six months ago to do everything in his executive power to improve gun safety. Since then, Obama has completed more than 20 actions that do not require congressional authority that made significant steps toward his goals.

These actions included strengthening the existing background check system, improving record-keeping procedures and providing schools and other organizations with emergency plans for gun violence situations.

“These are really important actions the president has taken, and time will tell how much positive impact they’ll have on this whole issue of gun violence,” Biden said.

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December, Biden and others in the administration said they have been receiving countless calls from people who are concerned about their own safety.

“I personally was getting calls from around the country,” Biden said. “Joe, what do we do if anything remotely similar to what happened in Sandy Hook happens in our community?”

To answer that question, the Department of Homeland Security and other officials put together three documents outlining emergency procedures.

Biden held up the documents and said he wants school principals to have a clear emergency plans based on the framework of these guidebooks.

“We’ve got to make this bite-sized. We’ve got to make it understandable. And we’ve got to make it available, and the best thinking in the country,” Biden said.

Biden was introduced by Stephen Barton, who survived the shootings in Aurora, Colo., in July after being shot twice. Since the shooting, Barton has joined Biden in his efforts to reduce gun violence in America.

He made a videobefore the election last year urging voters to consider candidates’ stand on the issue.

“Gun violence isn’t just an urban issue as I once believed, nor is it a gang or issue,” Barton said. “It’s an American issue that affects us all.”

Although the Obama administration has been relatively quiet about gun control since April, Biden’s speech Tuesday was intended reminded lawmakers that the administration will continue to rally the public to ask for changes.

“We need to make sure the voices of those we lost are the loudest ones we hear in this fight,” Biden said.  “We need to make sure that everyone in the country knows that this fight isn’t over –  far from it.”

Reach Reporter Jacqueline DelPilar at Jacqueline.delpilar@shns.comor 202-326-9861.

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