Biden on Gun Control: "Think About Newtown"

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 21 2013 3:52 PM

Biden Urges Reconsideration of Assault Weapons Ban: "Think About Newtown" 

Vice President Joe Biden and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, surrounded by some of the families of Newtown victims, held a joint press conference today to push back against delays in the passage of federal gun control legislation. Although the families behind Biden and Bloomberg effectively contextualized the entire presser as a reminder of Newtown, Biden chose to invoke the tragedy explicitly: 

"For all those who say we can’t ban assault weapons," Biden said, referring to a provision dropped by Senate Democrats earlier this week from a gun control legislation package to be considered next month, "I say one thing: Think about Newtown. Think about how many of these children or teachers may be alive today had he had to reload three times as many times as he did.”

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Biden also implied that Congress had dropped the ban out of fear. Addressing slain substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau's family, Biden said (via Politico):

“You know, it’s its time for the political establishment to show the courage your daughter showed...It doesn’t take one-tenth the courage your daughter showed. I was saying to one of the men you’re about to hear from, it must be awful being in public office and concluding that even though you might believe you should take action, you can’t take action because the political consequence you face. What a heck of a way to make a living. I mean it sincerely, what a heck of a way to have to act.”

Biden led an Obama-appointed task force after the Newtown elementary school shooting that developed legislative and executive proposals to reduce gun violence. That proposal included the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban

Abby Ohlheiser is a Slate contributor.

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