One day after President Obama unveiled the administration's plan to curb gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden today defended their intentions, answering critics who have spoken out against the plan for potentially infringing on the Second Amendment rights of Americans.
"The president and I support the Second Amendment," Biden said definitively.
Biden, who's led the task force on gun violence since the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, noted that he owns guns.
"I have two shotguns, a 20-gauge and a 12-gauge shotgun," he said. Later in the speech he said his son Beau was a better shot than he is but that is because Beau is in the Army.
Biden spoke today before the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in Washington, D.C. Not everyone in the audience, Biden noted today, agrees with recommendations the White House put forward yesterday. But he defended the administration's move to push this issue, at one point addressing the roomful of mayors as if he were speaking to them individually, saying that "murder rates in both of our towns are … well beyond … what's remotely tolerable for a civilized circumstance."
"We're going to take this fight to the halls of Congress," he 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 voice, of the American people be heard. "
Biden again noted that there will not be consensus across the nation, given cultural differences among the states. In many states, he added, hunting is "big deal."
But, he quipped, addressing the use of high-capacity magazines in hunting, "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 saying, "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."
Biden said 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."