Biden, in Connecticut, makes fiery plea for gun control in speech near Newtown

DANBURY, Conn. — Vice President Biden journeyed Thursday to this New England town, 12 miles from where an elementary school became a scene of slaughter in December, to make a fiery plea for Congress to toughen the nation’s gun laws.

Vowing that there is “a moral price to be paid for inaction,” Biden sought to publicly shame lawmakers who are hesitant about voting for President Obama’s gun-control agenda.

“I can’t imagine how we will be judged as a society if we do nothing,” Biden said. “If you’re concerned about your political survival, you should be concerned about the survival of our children. And guess what? I believe the price to be paid politically should go to those who refuse to act. . . . The American people are with us.”

Biden, his voice getting louder and louder, delivered a point-by-point rebuttal of the National Rifle Association’s and other gun rights activists’ arguments against stricter gun restrictions. Biden argued that people do not need AR-15s and other so-called assault rifles for self-protection.

“They say well, it’s about our culture,” Biden said. “The facts are, our culture’s not killing 25 people a day. It’s weapons and high-capacity magazines. It’s criminals who get guns without going through a background check.”

Biden accused some questioners participating in his online chats of planting questions designed to place roadblocks to his gun-control agenda.

“They say, all you’re going to do, Biden, you and the president, you’re going to deny law-abiding citizens their rights under the Second Amendment,” Biden said. “Not true.”

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said in a statement responding to Biden’s speech: “Holding press conferences and making speeches will not make our country or our children safer. Prosecuting criminals, fixing our broken mental health system and placing law enforcement in schools will. That’s what the American people and the National Rifle Association support.”

The vice president’s remarks came at the end of a day-long conference at Western Connecticut State University, where much of the state’s political leadership, as well as U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, gathered to discuss federal laws that could prevent future shootings.

Two months ago, a gunman shot and killed 20 small children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in nearby Newtown. Emotions were raw at Thursday’s event; many attendees were from the Newtown community.

Lynn McDonnell, whose daughter, Grace, died in the shooting, addressed the forum and said she was trying to be “fearless” in her efforts to push for tougher gun laws. She got choked up when she brought up the young students who were shot Dec. 14.

“We owe it to our children, and I owe it to my daughter, Grace,” McDonnell said.

Connecticut’s two U.S. senators and the congresswoman who represents the Newtown area, all Democrats, gave speeches urging swift action on gun laws. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he believed measures to require background checks for all gun buyers, as well as making gun trafficking a federal crime, were “achievable.”

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com


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