Vice President Joe Biden and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg Thursday urged Congress to pass stronger gun control measures, with Biden calling the measures simple common sense solutions that the vast majority of Americans support.
“There is not one single thing being proposed — not one, not one, not one — that infringes upon anyone’s second amendment constitutional right,” Biden said.
Democratic lawmakers have sought to push stricter gun control measures in the wake of national tragedies in Arizona, Colorado, and Connecticut. Conservative groups, with the National Rifle Association being the most high-profile, have opposed introducing new laws, claiming that law enforcement should start enforcing the many laws already on the books before lawmakers produce new ones.
USA Today reports that Biden’s remarks followed a meeting with Bloomberg and the families of several victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Biden called on lawmakers to show the courage that victims of the Newtown tragedy have demonstrated.
“It must be awful to be in public office and concluding–that even though you might believe you should take action–that you can’t take action, because of the political consequence you may face,” Biden said. “What a heck of a way to make a living.”
Bloomberg has been one of the staunchest advocates of gun control and has actively encouraged President Barack Obama to make reducing gun violence a priority. In Thursday’s press conference, he pushed for:
“Making sure that people who are minors, have criminal records, substance abuse problems, or psychiatric problems don’t get their hands on guns, because they just are not suitable people to have arms and to use them responsibly, which the vast bulk of gun owners do, and which the vast bulk of gun dealers want them to do, as a matter of fact.”
NBC reports that Biden and Bloomberg met several times since the Newtown massacre while Biden developed a set of gun control proposals that ultimately included the assault weapons ban, universal federal background checks, and limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
Biden did not shy away from mentioning the NRA by name during his remarks Thursday. He asserted that they represent only a minority of gun owners and that even a sizable number of their members support responsible gun control legislation.
“Because the vast majority of the American people, the vast majority of gun owners, even close to a majority of NRA members, who only represent four million of the gun owners in America, think what the mayor has been pushing and what the president has proposed is just simple common sense,” Biden said.
Thursday’s remarks come days after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he would drop an assault weapons ban from the gun violence bill he intends to bring to the Senate floor. On the same day, the head of Colorado’s Department of Corrections was murdered mere hours before state gun legislation expanding background checks and limiting ammunition was signed into law. Only three months have passed since many lives were lost during the Newtown massacre and the nation first grappled with how to respond.
President Obama and Vice President Biden have both voiced support for an assault weapons ban, but they have not regarded it as a necessity out of fear that opposition to the measure would cause the entire gun violence bill to fail.