Vice President Joe Biden met with cabinet officials and law enforcement representatives today in Washington, D.C., to convene the first meeting of President Obama's gun violence task force.
The task force, which was created in the wake of the tragic shootings at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school, has been charged with generating actionable policy ideas to prevent or reduce the incidence of gun violence in America.
Seated between the president of the National Association of Police Organizations and the Philadelphia police commissioner Biden noted, "I've worked with some of you for a long, long time," adding, "I know you all. I know you well."
"You're the first group that I wanted to speak with" about reducing gun violence, Biden said, because "You know better than anyone what is needed out there. And what I think the public has learned about you is you have a much more holistic view of how to deal with violence on our streets and in our country that you're ever given credit for."
Biden referenced the pivotal role law enforcement groups played in past crime policy debates: "We were writing the crime bill years ago, and everybody thought that was a -- just an exercise to reach out and pretend we cared about what you thought. You, the police organizations, were the organizations that came forward and not only dealt with the punishment-incarceration side of it, you were the ones who came up with the ideas about community policing. You came up with the ideas about reaching out, having drug courts."
"We're going to need your help" again, Biden explained. "We've worked on everything from cop-killer bullets to the type of weapons that should be off the street and a whole lot else. So that's what I want to talk to you about today. I want to hear your views because, for anything to get done, we're gonna need your advocacy."
Biden asked for a "frank discussion," joking, "With that, I'd like to disinvite the press out of the room."