Biden on gun safety: No more excuses

Vice President Joe Biden gestures as he speaks at the Winter-Spring meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in Washington.
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Continuing an ongoing campaign on behalf of the administration's gun safety agenda, Vice President Joe Biden today took his message to the nation's attorneys general, urging them to use their "moral suasion" and "clout" to advise him and help in perfecting and building support for his plan.

Biden, speaking to the National Association of Attorneys General this morning, outlined the series of proposals for reducing gun violence that he presented to President Obama last month. The vice president, who has advocated stronger gun safety laws for years, presented a vehement defense of his various proposals, including the implementation of universal background checks, the reinstitution of the assault weapons ban, and ending restrictions that allow people to do research on the subject of gun violence.

He noted that he met with 229 different groups - "every possible stakeholder" - in devising his proposals, and that a general consensus emerged supporting his points. As to the opposition, he argued, "they're not actually looking for answers."

"They're looking to build roadblocks," Biden said. "They say it isn't about guns - they're just wrong, it is about guns."

The White House plan faces significant opposition from the gun lobby and Republican members of Congress, and skepticism remains surrounding the measures that will be able to make it through the GOP-led House of Representatives.

Biden argued, however, that the public is on his side - particularly in the aftermath of the Newtown shootings, in which 20 children were murdered at their elementary school.

"We have to speak for them and their families. Enough is enough. We have an obligation to act," he said.

The vice president presented as evidence a congressional special election in Illinois last night, in which a pro-gun control Democrat beat out several other Democrats who were targeted in the media for past pro-gun positions. Thanks to several liberal advocacy groups, which aired television ads on the subject, the issue of gun safety became a prominent one in the campaign.

"The voters sent a message last night not just to the NRA but to the politicians around the country," Biden said. "The public mood has changed. The excuse that it's too politically risky to act is no longer acceptable. We cannot remain silent."