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Joe Biden on not running for president: "I regret it every day"

After a lengthy soul-searching process that ended with the vice president turning down a 2016 bid, Joe Biden still thinks about the campaign that might have been.

"I regret it every day," Biden said during a round of interviews with local television news affiliates, "but it was the right decision for my family and me."

Biden, who flirted with the possibility of a White House run for months before deciding against it in October, has previously said he had made the "right decision" not to launch a campaign.

"I plan on staying deeply involved," he told WVIT, an NBC affiliate in Connecticut.

He added that so far this election cycle, there has been "real robust debate between Hillary and Bernie" and noted that "we've got two good candidates" -- seemingly omitting the third Democratic primary competitor, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The vice president also spoke with several news stations to address the latest White House executive actions on guns, which the president announced Tuesday.

"We do have to feel a sense of urgency about it," an emotional Obama said from the East Room of the White House. "People are dying and the constant excuses for inaction no longer do."

The president's plans involve expanding background checks during gun sales and strengthening enforcement of existing gun laws. The president also plans to improve care for the mentally ill and promote information-sharing to prevent them from buying guns.

Like Mr. Obama, who will join a CNN-hosted town hall on Thursday to discuss gun violence, Biden is participating in a media blitz to wrangle support for the executive actions, which could still face considerable legal and Congressional hurdles.

Speaking with CBS' Roanoke, Virginia affiliate WDBJ -- a station victimized by gun violence last August when a reporter and photographer were shot dead on live television by a former disgruntled employee -- Biden countered the argument that "we're going to confiscate everyone's gun."

Of gun-rights activists, Biden said that "we're not infringing on their rights at all."

"They can stand by their gun if they're legally entitled to have a gun under the Constitution," he added, adding that the executive actions were "modest in relative terms."

Biden further claimed the new actions would have prevented the Virginia Tech massacre.

"Imagine what would have happened had Virginia reported the mental state of the shooter in Blacksburg down at Virginia Tech," he said. "I mean, you know, you say well Joe you're not going to solve--would have solved that. Wouldn't have been able to have a gun."

Asked whether the latest executive actions go far enough, the vice president said "no, they don't."

"I don't think there's any rationale why someone, a hunter needs to have a clip that can hold 40 rounds in it or 60 rounds in it, if you're going to do that we ought to at least give the deer a kevlar vest or something to give him an even chance," Biden said. "I mean this is ridiculous. We don't need some of the stuff that's out there."

He explained further the initiatives to implement more "smart gun" technologies, saying, "Why can't you have a gun [where] you cannot fire the gun unless your thumbprint is identifiable? We have the technology to be able to do that. We can drive down the cost so that it will not impede you, a law-abiding citizen buying a gun that's a smart gun."

And to WCSC, a CBS affiliate in Charleston, South Carolina -- where a shooting rampage killed nine black church-goers in June -- Biden defended the president's actions as well-intentioned.

"He wants to make sure people who shouldn't own a gun don't get one," Biden said of the president. "He wants to make it quicker for people who are able to own a gun under the law to be able to own a gun. That's the whole background check system."

The vice president further assured that rather than changing the laws completely, Mr. Obama's actions are all about "enforcing the existing law on the books."

"If you are mentally ill, if you are a felon, if you are an abuser in a domestic violence, you are not allowed under the law, consistent with the Constitution, to own a weapon," he said.

The vice president also addressed the recent North Korean claim to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, saying only that the White House was "trying to run down the assertion."

"I'm not at liberty to tell you what we can certify now," Biden told WDBJ, "but we are determining whether the claim is accurate."

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