(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Joe Biden spoke at the White House Tuesday about continued effort to address gun violence, pledging that he and President Obama have not given up the effort to pass legislation expanding background checks.
Biden, who was introduced by Steve Barton, a 22-year-old survivor of the Aurora movie theater shooting massacre, announced the release of new reports outlining steps the schools and places of worship could take to prevent and respond to gun violence.
“So I’m here to tell ya, that the most important message to take here today is the president and I and our team have not given up. Our friends in the Senate have not given up,” Biden said.
“Although we have yet to succeed in the House and Senate — but we will — he moved forward on what was within his power with executive actions he could take.”
Biden said that of the 23 executive actions Obama announced to address gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, 21 of them have been completed or are nearly complete.
“The set of guidelines we’re releasing today to give schools and communities the tools they need to protect their children,” the vice president said. “I bet you your police department got a call from about every school in your district saying, ‘What do I do if that happens in my school.’”
But he said that Congress must still act on legislation to expand the country’s background check system.
“We pushed Congress to pass common sense legislation to reduce gun violence and a majority of the Senate stepped up,” Biden said. “Because of the invocation of a perverted filibuster rule requiring 60 votes for everything in order to get a vote, we lost.”
He urged Congress to allow the federal government to collect information on gun violence that could aid with prevention.
“Why are we afraid of information? An informed society should not be afraid of the facts,” Biden said, adding, “As proud as the president is, as proud as I am of the progress that we’ve made, we need Congress to act. The American people are demanding it. As I’ve said before we need to make sure that the voices of those we lost, are the loudest ones we here in this fight. We need to make sure that everyone in this country knows that this fight isn’t over. Far from it.”
Biden warned that the politics of gun legislation has changed and the country is prepared to punish lawmakers who don’t vote in support of gun control legislation.
“I would yield to my friends in the House and the Senate, but I assure you, the one thing that each of us have been hearing from our colleagues in the House and the Senate about these votes is the country has changed. You will play a price a political price for not getting engaged and playing with gun safety.”
“What changed in Sandy Hook is — the straw that broke the camel’s back — is those people who support rational measures say this will be a defining issue for me.”
“It will make a difference in who I vote for. That is a fundamental change in the political calculus.”
He added that members of Congress who voted against the first background check bill have contacted him asking how they can work on a revised version that can get more bipartisan support.
“I will not mention the names, but look at those who voted no and look at what their polling numbers are,” he said. “The country has changed.”
“Nothing we’re asking for, nothing we continue to pursue is inconsistent with the constitutional rights Americans have.”
Biden said, “So far I am optimistic because I’ve gotten those phone calls from those members of Congress, many of whom voted no.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio