Biden tells conference gun control momentum unstoppable
DANBURY, Conn. — Vice President Joe Biden sought to rally support for the Obama administration's gun control proposals as he spoke on Thursday at a conference on gun violence being held not far from the scene of December's school massacre, saying it fundamentally altered the debate.
Biden acknowledged gun control has traditionally been viewed as the third rail of American politics, recalling that when President Obama asked him to take the lead, the president told him he didn't have to do it if he didn't want to.
“America has changed on this issue,” Biden said at the conference at Western Connecticut State University, which the gunman once attended. “There is a moral price to be paid for inaction.”
Noting the courage of the families of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary in nearby Newtown, Biden said elected officials should show political courage.
“We have to speak for those 20 beautiful children who died 69 days ago, 12 miles from here,” Biden said. “We have to speak for the voice of those six adults who died trying to save the children in their care that day who can't speak for themselves. You have to speak for the 1,900 people who have died at the other end of a gun just since Sandy Hook in this country.”
Biden advocated a series of proposals, including universal background checks for gun owners, a ban on many military-style weapons and a limit on the size of magazines. He said the measures would save lives even though there was no guarantee they would prevent all mass shootings.
“Fewer children will die,” Biden said.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who organized the conference with two other members of the state's congressional delegation, said those measures are achievable. He said the Newtown shooting dramatically changed the prospects for gun control.
“Newtown has transformed America, and we need to build on that sense of urgency going forward,” Blumenthal said. “Preventing gun violence was thought to be untouchable politically two months ago. That unspeakable horror has given us unstoppable momentum.”
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, attending the conference, announced that he wants to immediately ban high-capacity ammunition magazines, require background checks for the transfer of firearms and expand the state's assault weapons ban. He has expressed frustration that the state legislature has not acted more quickly to form a response to the Newtown tragedy.
The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, killed his mother at their Newtown home before going to Sandy Hook and slaughtering 20 children and six adults. He committed suicide as police arrived.
Other speakers at the conference, designed to give momentum to Obama's gun control proposals, urged Congress to honor the memories of the victims with strong action, including Chris and Lynn McDonnell, whose 7-year-old daughter Grace was among the 26 people killed.
“We ask our representatives to look into their hearts and remember the 26 beautiful lives we lost and pass meaningful laws to help prevent this from happening again,” Lynn McDonnell said, leading to a standing ovation.
Gun makers and lobbyists weren't invited to participate in the conference, but Blumenthal said gun rights advocates will have opportunities in hearings and other forums to express their points of view.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- More states pick up tab for ACT exams
- Poll: Common Core educational standards loses support
- Immigration judge drops case against Ore. woman who drove into leaf pile, killing 2 girls
- ISIS beheads American photojournalist who was kidnapped 2 years ago in Syria
- Scathing report says college trustees fail in mission
- Latest Ferguson protests are smaller, more subdued
- Grand jury to hear evidence in Missouri shooting
- Ferguson pledges outreach
- Agency makes high-tech push to improve military vehicles
- Landowners blamed for Del. bridge damage; fines could total millions
- Ex-Va. first lady sought credit for loan, sister-in-law says