WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that the administration will continue to prioritize dealing with gun violence, casting it as an issue not just of protecting the public from mass shootings like Newtown, but of recasting American culture in a way that would affect everything down to the economy.
Addressing the United States Conference of Mayors at their winter meeting here, Biden focused on the gun recommendations that he had provided to President Barack Obama earlier this week, which the president formally recommended to Congress on Wednesday.
“I know you’ve come to talk about a broad range of very important issues that you’re facing in your cities and towns … but I didn’t come here to talk about any of those important subjects today because as important as they all are, today we have a more urgent and immediate call, and that is how to deal with the epidemic of gun violence in America,” Biden said.
In what is likely a preview of part of the administration’s pitch as they push for Congress to take up gun control measures, including bans on assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and the institution of universal background checks, Biden made an appeal that mixed the emotional and the practical, and painted gun control as just one aspect in a move to curb the “coarsity” of American culture.
“Let me acknowledge the truth: too many in this country have been silent too long,” Biden said. “We cannot be silent any longer. … We have to speak for” the victims.
“There’s some who say the most powerful voice in the debate belongs to the gun lobbies and those who demand a stop to these common-sense approaches to saving lives. I think they’re wrong,” Biden said.