(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Joe Biden told gun control supporters Wednesday that the upcoming votes on gun legislation in the Senate are only “the beginning” in the country’s push toward alleviating gun violence.
“That doesn’t mean this is the end of the process. This is the beginning of the process,” Biden said in a conference call hosted by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. “The American people are way ahead of their political leaders, and we, the president and I, intend, and the mayors intend, to stay current with the American people.”
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate will consider a comprehensive gun package, including universal background checks, next month. The vice president voiced his belief that the country is “on the verge” of requiring universal background checks, a measure that has drawn opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.
“No one anticipated that there’d be a loophole big enough to drive a Mac truck through,” Biden said of the current background check system. “I think we’re on the verge of getting a serious, thorough universal background check system in place and it will, emphasize, it will save lives.”
The assault weapons ban will not be included in the comprehensive gun package considered next month, but will be considered as an amendment.
“This is just the beginning. We believe that weapons of war have no place on our streets,” Biden said. “We believe there’s no rational reason why someone would need a clip that can hold 15, 20, 100 bullets, 100 rounds. We have to do more and we will do more.”
Over the past week, the White House has ramped up its push for a vote on the assault weapons ban, but it is unlikely that the proposal will pass.
On Thursday, Mayors Against Illegal Guns will hold a “National Day to Demand Action” featuring more than 100 events across the country where people will urge lawmakers to support the gun legislation in Congress. Biden praised Bloomberg for his work on gun safety, describing him as “the engine that is, you know, generating so much, so much help in this issue.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Miranda Green, CNN
Seth Fiegerman, CNN
Robert Patten, EastIdahoNews.com
Nate Sunderland, EastIdahoNews.com