Vice President Biden said he and President Obama will tour the country making the case for gun control laws – the centerpiece of which is a requirement that all gun buyers submit to a federal background check.
Biden, speaking to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, devoted the heart of his remarks to pushing the background check requirement twinned with pleas that state and federal governments share their information on prospective gun purchasers.
Obama has already begun recruiting supporters on the gun issue through both his campaign apparatus — which e-mailed supporters Thursday asking them to “stand with the president to reduce gun violence,” and the official Web site, but Biden’s remarks at the Capitol Hilton mark the first declaration that the White House plans to barnstorm to build support for its gun proposals.
“We’re going to take this fight to the halls of Congress, Biden said. “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 voices of the American people be heard.”
Biden made it clear that requiring universal background checks for all new gun purchases is the most important element of the White House gun control platform – an opinion shared by the leading gun control advocacy organizations.
“Why would a criminal buy a gun at a store where he’s required to buy a gun to do a background check or at a gun show from a licensed dealer where he’s required to go through a background check when he can buy a gun from the guy at the next exit over who sometimes has a sign above saying ‘No background check required’?”
While the groups are also pushing for an assault weapons ban, it is acknowledged to be the least important and most difficult element of Obama’s proposals to pass Congress. Biden himself implied that an assault weapons ban pales in importance to even a prohibition on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
“The weapon of choice in vast majority of people who are killed is a handgun,” Biden said. “But you can put an awful lot of rounds in a Glock and a lot of other handguns.”