Transcript for Biden Pushes White House Gun Control Priorities
Folks. It's good to see so many. So many faces I I'd hoped. We would have assembled. In this auditorium. Earlier. Although -- hope we were and a have assembled here. Couple months ago. Celebrating the first in the number of victories that we will have. In -- India. The congress. 44. Of our college it was a 45. Voted no. -- you rational simple straightforward. Extension of an existing background check system and already exists is constitutionally. Permissible. But. First thing I want to say before -- -- this argument subject matters specific subject matter day. Is that we have not given up. Janet Napolitano has not given -- colder. Has not given Richard Blumenthal has not given them congressman Eliot Engel -- given congressman Mike Thompson -- not given up. And speaker -- Sharkey -- the Connecticut house -- not given them by just wish we had success you've had -- Connecticut with. Your governor in which -- legislature. In mere preamble -- Santa Monica has -- Nor has has Carolyn. Maloney who is one of leading advocates for rational gun policy -- Is not here today -- congress who's not here today because she's -- another she's -- you know. They fight that we have ever in our prayers she's fighting lung cancer she'll -- that just like she's gonna come back and help us. Beat this gun lobby that is permanent. The kind of rational action happening. Six months ago the president -- student is very room. Jury -- by the victims of gun violence parents teachers members of law enforcement. And many others. Many others as you -- as simple promise to the American people. We said we will do everything that we can do everything in our power to reduce gun violence in this country. At the time. The shock and horror. With -- massacre -- sandy hook was fresh. In every was most. Only four weeks earlier the entire country was. Turning on their television learned that 21. Graders have been killed in the clash. Six staff and and education personnel have died trying to -- The entire country. The entire country sitting that television isn't -- it is a very personal. Means of communication. You sit there in nearly every room here in libraries can hear kitchen. Can you associate directly with the person on the screen everyone who watched. What was going -- Sat there and I'm confident they -- children imagine it imagined. What it would be like. If they are getting a phone call remember the parking lot she packers' run around not knowing. Wherever they go into -- out what was happening is my child. Every every mother and father. The group. The country kind of felt -- in your bones. Wonder -- would you do it -- that had that in my baby. Moms. Calder songs that night daughter's. Not because. They -- there were close to new -- you just need to hear their voice. Just needed to hear your child's -- -- -- grown each. It was instinctive. -- stuck through babies. Into bed just a little bit tighter. And center a little bit longer. Because they wanted to hear the rhythm of their sleep. You know. So I'm here to tell you. That the most important message to take over here today. Is the president -- team we have not given up. Our friends in the house and senate they have not given up. We push congress to pass common sense legislation to reduce gun violence. Speed and the majority of the senate stepped up. The majority this has stepped up and said that makes sense. But because of the invocation of day. A rule. Completely perverted. Filibuster rule required sixty votes for everything and -- get a vote. We lost. 41 Republicans and four Democrats voted no. I'm confident. Some of them I know for a fact -- Wonder well no over the that was a prudent -- And so the president. When he stood here. That first -- Said he would do everything within his power. Constitutional power. To change the ethic about -- but -- It wasn't merely that he said he laid out. We have put together the team I just mentioned all of us -- together we interviewed a 128. Different groups of stakeholders from gun owners to the NR AT. Brady group police officers -- -- we came up with a list of the rational things. That should be done. But that's not all the president was talking about. On that day six months ago the senator said they shouldn't be the president said. That he is going to do everything in his individual power. Under the executive power. Of the presidency. To take those actions that did not require congressional story. To begin to do that problem. And although we have yet. To succeed. In the house and senate but we will. He moved forward on what was within his power. Would executive actions he -- today. And today -- report. That he announced 23 executive actions 21. Of them. Have been completed or there's been major. Progress made toward the total completion. And that we're on track to finish the job. For example we've strengthened existing background check system. One of these everybody found out except for Eric and I've been doing this are career. Is that there's an awful lot of people. In states all around America who under the constitution are disqualified. From being able own -- weapon. And yet and their names are held by the states in which they live. And those names have not been communicated. To this -- school system the national instant background check system. -- -- -- -- We are not able to dictate -- state. Take certain actions. So Erica and I and others begin to inquire why in those states seventeen no one more. Was this information. Not getting into the system already accumulated. Why are of those names not desist. Forgot all kinds of reasons one of which was -- -- cost. Well the president proposed twenty billion dollars to symbolize. Those states which easily cover whatever cost they -- To get all of those names several million of them. Into the background check system nothing new. The names are all ready to unify. All ready in place. And so. We're working on that system. We're making sure that law enforcement has the tools at their disposal. To combat violence we're calling on congress to provide the ten million dollars for example. -- the -- is already said. That these restrictions. On the ability of any federal agency keep many statistics relating to gun violence. In the study the issue. There's -- -- prohibition that exist. President. Like that prohibition -- And now says he wants that ten million dollars -- the Center for Disease Control. To restart the gun violence prevention research they had in the past been doing. Why are we afraid of information -- society. Should not be afraid of the facts. We're also working to improve access to mental health care. How much should we read in here about. Mental health is a component to this problem and part of the solution. To the problem's -- -- -- -- There are too many people experience mental health problems weren't getting the help they need. You know the most at risk cadre. Of people between the exit sixteen and 25. Who need the most gun violence that mental health needs going on. So here's that we did. We finalize the so called Affordable Care Act I call Obama care. So that coverage of mental health. And substance abuse services. Would be available for 62. Million Americans for who they are not available. A big change. And we made it clear. To every state official through direct communications that Medicaid did. Must treat mental health care coverage the same way they treat physical health care -- God knows how many. Moms and dads knowing they have a child with a serious problem having no notion. About the abuse of weapons. No -- but not able to afford. Not able to afford to get the mental health care they need where -- there on Medicaid. Or whether or not. They have the -- private health insurers. These are really important actions the president's -- -- and time will tell. How much positive impact they'll have. On this whole issue of gun violence. There's a number of other. Executive orders grew that the preferences. President has instituted that are near completion and -- -- -- in the interest of time. But there's one -- want to talk about today. And that is the set of guidelines -- releasing today. To give schools. In communities the tools they need to protect her children. Now a lot of you are professionals. I'll -- -- your police department was contacted by about every school district every school in your district. -- what do I do -- this happened in my school. I personally members of congress were getting calls from their -- I person was getting calls from -- in the country. Joseph what do we do. If anything remotely similar. To what happened. What happened -- Sidney hook happens in our -- And so the one thing the federal government can really do well. Better than any single jurisdiction. Is they can scour the nation. And find out best practices. There are able to assess and gather all the resources. To say what works best. What are the best evacuation -- one of the best prevention plans what are the best. Actions that could and should be taken in the event of a shooter in -- school. We provided guidelines of the past. But different agencies sometimes had different messages. Sort of the leadership of our team. We brought in Homeland Security which includes -- the single best disaster relief operation in the world the. FBI. We brought in the in addition the -- regarded the Justice Department overall. We brought in the on his stead. We insisted that they sit down. Together. Not separately together. And make sure they were all on the same page is -- with a single best recommendations. That can be may. So there's -- -- hears this they all have had significant input in dealing with disasters. Is who we put them together we're -- room. With more than 100. Experts. From law enforcement. To higher education. From K to 121 period -- teachers. To first responders. To emergency planners. And we said. All -- you come up with what you think are the best practices the most concrete. Recommendations. That you could give us. That'll enable us to teach your prepare or lay at a menu for the school districts and churches the interesting thing -- is. I think -- surprised. Most people do remember Eric and I sit is -- -- we had the faith leaders. The faith leaders not only wanted to talk about. Making schools -- -- They know they are worried that their congregations. Are at risk. So they want to know what should they be thinking about. When someone stands up in the middle of -- congregations decide to do something similar. We saw in schools. So. We gave concrete direction we are going to. There are three documents that are being made available today a guide for developing high quality school emergency operation plans. And that is for K through twelve. And a -- For developing high quality merge operation plans for institutions of higher learning in a guide for developing high quality emergency operation plans for houses of worship. So toward that -- We took -- very very hard look. And wins a school principal gets in touch with the federal -- low -- for advice. As I said they shouldn't here. From the Justice Department and Department of Education news apartment -- was security with -- we got it we got to make this. Bite size. We got to make it understandable. And we got to make it available. The best thinking in the country. We made sure the guidance reflects all the lessons. All the lessons we've learned over the years to ensure that schools higher education house of worship. Have an opportunity to share the latest and best knowledge is advancements in emergency plan. All that work has been distilled down -- the guidebooks -- reference. These books outlined in detail process. That every school. Every institution. Every house of worship. Should go through to create their own -- within the framework the best policies available. The guidebooks ask each school or house of worship to consider the fundamental question is -- go in. Do the kind of planning. -- come up with answers the questions in close collaboration with local first responders. To the practical impacted. We're asking is suggesting in addition the specific guidelines for clients is asking -- school district or school. That wants to put in place the best emergency plan. To call -- me. Call a meeting with their local government officials call me with the police officers with the first responders the fire department -- -- And sit down. And go through what -- the unique aspects of their concern in their school. It details what information -- and he cannot be shared for example there's three pieces this one what can we do. Through these guidelines. To maybe prevent. Prevent. A shooter we're disaster -- school. One of the things those -- and education know what -- an educator. Is that there are a number rules that are out there to protect privacy. The privacy of the student so it can it -- issues so there's all kinds of federal regulations actually three big. And so school districts and school officials. Are calling it is saying what in my able to make available. What can be shared about a student or adults mental health past behavioral. Patterns. What can be shared about their background. But I where I don't violate the law. What am -- able to share. Share with the parents share with them law enforcement officials and share -- those in the school system. So that we may be able to admit in the blood the threatening behavior. That we see it is obvious in some students. And also talks about locks in breyer's and walls that can be used to protect children. We make sure the planners are asking right questions. What are you going to do if there's members how are you going to find out who needs it now. What your plans for alerting teachers -- students where should they go how do you make sure the students with disabilities can be taken care. If there's a -- do you have an evacuation. If that route is blocked what's the alternative. If god forbid there's an active shooter how are you going to alert the people. Do teachers know what they should do. These books we'll tell you. What to do and they start with the conversation as schools and community should already be happy with their first responders parents and teachers. And we're going back we're going back and we're going to back it up with training. The department of -- was security. Has conducted briefings and over 100 school districts thus -- in addition of that the FBI worked with some of the top experts in the field at Texas State University. To update Justice Department tactical training for officers that respond active shooter situation. The FBI held a two day workshop an active shooter situations. At every single one of the 56 field offices nationwide. With which reached senior command staff for more than 1850. State local -- when campus police agencies. Working with communities that represent millions of people. This is a huge mobilization of the resource is to make sure. That our front lines and law enforcement no absolutely -- the best protocols for responding to these situations are. There's -- to help save lives not only potential victims in harm's way but cops as well. So as I've said we've made significant progress that taken together each of these actions I've outlined today would reduce gun violence in America. But let me make a very important -- before -- close. As proud as the prisoners is proud of -- the progress we've made we need congress to act. The American people are demanding. As I've said before we need to make sure the voices of those we lost aren't allowed us once we hear in this fight. We need to make sure that everyone in the country knows that this fight isn't over far from. And I wouldn't yield to my friends in the house of the -- But I assure you. The one thing that each of us have been saying -- our colleagues about these votes. Is the country has changed. You'll pay a price a political price. For not for not. Getting engaged in dealing with gun safety. You used to be. Before. Sandy hook that the polling data would show that although 607080%. Of the people supported these significant -- sound. Proposals we made. -- it came down to it the fifth 30% or 20% that didn't support them they'd show on Election -- They would make that the single most important issue. And the other 80% which said that was a nice vote but it wasn't determined. What changed is sandy hook. What changed with sandy hook the straw that broke the camel's back. He is now those people who support rational safety measures say this will be a defining issue for me. For the first time. A clear majority of those who favor rational proposals say it will matter. It won't make a difference in who I vote for. That's a fundamental change in the political calculus. And I will not mention names but look at those who voted no and look at what their poll results are in their states immediately after being. Many who were popular -- in the fifties and sixties now find their favorable ratings in the forties. And many of those in very tough states may very tough votes based on conventional wisdom. Like Kay Hagan a North Carolina Mary Landrieu in Louisiana. And others their poll numbers have gone up. Because the country's changed. The country's chains. And nothing we're asking for nothing we continue to pursue is inconsistent. With the constitution -- every American it's not a single solitary. So folks I am optimistic. I know people say -- always an optimist when I am optimistic. I'm optimistic because I've gotten those phone calls from those members of congress. Many of whom voted no saying can you find a way. Can you find -- way. Do you find a way for -- to revisit its. It's and that's exactly what. We're going to be doing count on leadership of the members of congress that are here and I mean that sincerely. -- count on the continued leadership. Of the work courses in this administration and home security Department of Education. The the attorney general. Because the American people -- there. But in the meantime the president is going to continue to take every executive action within his power. To make schools safer for our children. Church's safe place to worship. It's significantly. Work on reducing the number of gun deaths in America. Ladies and gentlemen since -- -- More people have died at the -- the -- And we have lost. -- and Afghanistan. Pretty standard. It's pretty standard. And -- But we're -- that house. -- way to run a country. Public -- you know we can do something about it no matter how long it takes were determined to use me close by thanking. My colleagues and administration. And friends in the congress for a -- given up in this. We got a majority but not the super majority needed we will get it. We will be back and we will in fact improve the lives -- saved all the children in America. Who should look at school as the safest place in the world they can be. Thank you very much.
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