(WASHINGTON) — One day after President Obama unveiled the administration’s plan to curb gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden Thursday defended their intentions, answering critics who have spoken out against the plan for potentially infringing on the Second Amendment rights of Americans.
“There is a Second Amendment,” Biden said definitively. “The president and I support the Second Amendment.”
The vice president, who led the task force on gun violence over the last month since the shooting at Sandy Hook, noted that he himself owns guns.
“I have two shotguns, a 20-gauge and a 12-gauge shotgun,” he said.
Biden spoke before the U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Washington, D.C., an annual gathering of mayors across the country. His audience, Biden noted Thursday, does not all agree with recommendations the White House put forward Wednesday. But he defended the administration’s move to push this issue, telling mayors specifically that they know “murder rates in both of our towns are well beyond — well beyond — and some of yours well beyond — what’s remotely tolerable for a civilized circumstance.”
The vice president promised a campaign from the halls of Congress to streets across America to summon support for the gun control proposals.
“We’re going to take this fight to the halls of Congress. We’re going to take it beyond that. We’re going to take it to the American people. We’re going to go around the country making our case, and we’re going to let the voices — the voice of the American people be heard. “
Biden again noted that there will not be consensus across the nation among all the proposals from the White House, especially as cultural differences among the states vary.
“I think it’s important to understand its part of the ethic of where a lot of us come from. But it’s not this culture, the recognition of the differences in the cultural behavior and attitudes, from Arizona to — to — to New Jersey, although South Jersey, it’s a big deal too, hunting.”
But, quipped Biden about the use of high-capacity magazines as a hunting purpose, “As one hunter told me, if you got 12 rounds — you got 12 rounds, it means you’ve already missed the deer 11 times. You should pack the sucker in at that point. You don’t deserve to have a gun, period, if you’re that bad.”
High-capacity ammunition magazines “leave victims with no chance,” Biden said.
He summed up that “recognizing those differences doesn’t in any way negate the rational prospect of being able to come up with common-sense approaches how to deal with the myriad of problems that relate to gun ownership — who has that gun.”
Biden said that the “time is now” to make these changes and scoffed at some alternative strategies, like the proposal from the NRA for an armed guard to be placed in every school.
“We don’t want rent-a-cops in schools armed,” he said, “We don’t want people in schools who aren’t trained like police officers.”
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