Biden Says There Is “Political Price” For Inaction On Gun Violence
Despite the somber introduction by Stephen Barton—a young man who was shot in the Aurora, Colo., movie theater and a recent Syracuse graduate—the tone was relatively upbeat during a speech by Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday afternoon. Biden, speaking from the White House, began by noting some success with legislation to prevent gun violence in states across the country, from Connecticut to Delaware, in the past few months.
Establishing a theme of resilience, Biden said he, along with President Obama and their allies in Congress, is still committed to passing legislation that will curb gun violence in America. Despite the Senate's failure to pass common-sense gun legislation recently, President Obama has taken the recommendations of a task force on the issue, chaired by Biden, into consideration and ordered 23 Executive Actions to make our country safer.
Though the orders spanned a wide array of policies and actions—among them strengthening background checks—Biden focused his speech on the set of guidelines his task force released on how schools and their respective communities can deal with gun violence. As he noted, one of the greatest assets of the federal government is its ability to “scour the nation” and find the best practices. That, he said, along with consultation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the FBI, the Justice Department, and other organizations, led to the comprehensive “Guide for Developing High Quality School Emergency Plans.”
There are three plans: one for K-12, one for higher education, and one for places of worship. The guidelines consider communication with law enforcement officials regarding troubled children; barriers, walls, and other protective measures in case of a violent individual; and emergency provisions that Biden encouraged every school and place of worship to institute.
Biden encouraged members of Congress to take the initiative to pass gun control legislation. He noted that many senators received bumps in their approval ratings for voting in favor of the legislation in April, even in more conservative states, while others suffered for voting against it. Biden warned that lawmakers “will pay a political price for not getting engaged in gun safety.”
The vice-president said he realized the difference between the political climate around gun control today as compared to a decade ago: Citizens want gun violence to be their defining issue—and they will go to the polls on Election Day to vote for someone who is committed to making America safer.
"We will get [a supermajority], and we will be back,” he said. "The country has changed.”