DANBURY, Conn. — Speaking about 15 miles from the site of December’s elementary-school massacre, Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that it was “unacceptable not to take action” to curb gun violence.
“If you’re concerned about your political survival, you should be concerned about the survival of our children,” Biden said. “There’s a moral price to be paid for inaction.”
Biden spoke at Western Connecticut State University, which is about a 20-minute drive on Interstate 84 from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children were massacred in December. The event featured panels led by Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.
Biden’s speech comes a little more than a week after President Barack Obama renewed his push for stronger gun laws during his State of the Union address.
“They say it isn’t about guns. They’re wrong. It is about guns,” Biden said. He pledged that no new measures will infringe on anyone’s Second Amendment rights.
Biden said he met with Chris and Lynn McDonnell, the parents of Grace McDonnell, who was one of the children killed in the elementary-school massacre. The McDonnells were part of one of the earlier panels on gun violence.
Speaking before Biden, Blumenthal said that the push to curb gun violence was gaining momentum.
“Preventing gun violence was thought to be unthinkable politically two months ago,” Blumenthal said. “That unspeakable horror has given us unstoppable momentum. … We can do it. We can win this battle.”
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan followed Blumenthal and told a story that made the audience audibly gasp. He said a young boy in Chicago told him that “if — not when” he grows up, he wants to be a fireman.
Larry Keane, senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms industry based in Newtown, called Biden’s appearance at the panel “all political.”
“It’s obvious they won’t get their proposals through the House, and they might not even get them through the Senate,” Keane told Business Insider of the White House’s approach. “So now they’re trying to go out and create some pressure.”
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