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Joe Biden, Stephen Barton

Biden vows to `beat the gun lobby' and pass laws



 A scrappy Vice President Joe Biden vowed Tuesday to "beat the gun lobby" by ultimately passing stronger firearm laws and said some lawmakers who voted against background checks have privately told him they want another chance.

With President Barack Obama away in Europe, Biden held a White House event to announce progress on executive orders to reduce gun violence while stressing the need for congressional action that has eluded them.

"We have not given up," Biden repeatedly declared during a 25-minute speech in the South Court Auditorium next to the West Wing where he Obama announced a gun safety push in January.

"This fight isn't over, far from it," Biden said.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted against legislation in April that would have expanded background checks for firearm purchases to gun shows and online sales, and so far no lawmaker who voted against it has announced a change of their vote. But Biden said he's gotten calls from senators who voted no to ask, "Can you find a way for us to revisit this?" He did not identify any of the callers.

"I know for a fact some of them now wonder whether that was a prudent vote," Biden said. He said lawmakers who do not support improved gun safety will "pay a political price" because voters want change after December's shooting at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 20 first graders and six staff.

"We have yet to succeed in the House and Senate, but we will," Biden predicted.

However, Senate Democratic leaders have yet to gain enough votes to try again to pass background checks. National Rifle Association spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said those who voted against background checks are following the wishes of their constituents despite
a campaign against them.

 

"Undoubtedly a lot of pressure is being placed on them, but the one thing they have right now is support from voters in their state. And that's the most important thing to have," Arulanandam said in response to Biden.

Biden was introduced by Stephen Barton, a victim of last year's movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., who now is working to push for stronger laws with Bloomberg's group. The vice president opened his remarks by saying he wished they were gathered there to celebrate a legislative victory.

But instead he announced that the administration has completed or significantly advanced 21 of the 23 executive actions that Obama ordered in January in response to Sandy Hook. As an example, Biden held up newly completed federal emergency response planning guides for schools and houses of worship to prepare for a shooting, tornado or other disasters.

The two executive orders with the most remaining work are finalizing regulations to require insurers to cover mental health at parity with medical benefits, expected later this year, and putting a confirmed director at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Obama's nominee to head the ATF, B. Todd Jones, had a Senate hearing last week but has little chance of advancing amid political wrangling.


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Colo. lawmaker who pushed for gun control may lose job

(CBS News) DENVER -- After the massacre last summer in a Colorado movie theater, the leader of the state Senate pushed through a gun-control bill. Among other things, it outlawed the 100-round ammunition magazines used in the murder of 12 people and the wounding of 58.

Colorado Senate President John Morse

Colorado Senate President John Morse

Laura Carno
Laura Carno/ CBS News

 

But Senate President John Morse has been in the sights of gun rights advocates. On Tuesday, Colorado certified there are enough signatures on a petition to force a recall election.

The gun control laws passed in March limited magazines to 15 rounds and mandated background checks, even for private and online gun sales.

Morse, a Democrat gun-control advocate, is a former police chief.

"I've watched people die, and I've helped people not die," Morse says of gun violence he's witnessed.

A gun owner himself, he is now the target of a recall, despite seven years as a popular legislative leader.

Conservative activist Laura Carno is leading the recall. The former banker, who bought her first gun 25 years ago, made a TV ad in which she declares, "Don't you dare tell me how best to defend myself."

"My message is that I am pro-choice on self defense," Carno says.

Asked why residents are upset by gun laws, Carno replies, "Colorado is sort of a Wild West state, and we're accustomed to taking care of ourselves. To say, 'We will decide for you how you should best defend yourself,' people don't take kindly to that."


This is the first legislative recall ever in Colorado, but Morse believes that tougher laws passed here should give victims of gun violence, including Newtown families, hope that Congress will follow suit.

"Don't stop, no matter what, because you're right and the other people are wrong, and we've got to get this done," Morse says.

Even if it costs him a political career.

"It's costing me nothing -- nothing -- compared to what these families are paying," he says. "Stand up and do something. Stand up and make sure this never happens to another family."

Carno says she's prepared to fire Morse.

"You need to listen to me, because you work for me," she explains. "I got you hired and I can fire you."


Moments after the recall petitions were validated, Morse supporters filed challenges, meaning all of this could end up in the courts, and the actual recall election could be months away.


06/19/2013 8:27AM
Biden vows to `beat the gun lobby' and pass laws
Please enter your comments below.
06/19/2013 9:25AM
Go Joe Biden!
The "gun lobby" should be more accurately called the "criminal lobby" because that's who they represent. Common sense will eventually win out over the bloodthirsty craven gun fetishists.
06/21/2013 6:19AM
Commie Joe
Don't like the Constitution of The United States Of America ? Europe Awaits You.
06/21/2013 10:56AM
Joe Biden doesn't represent the people as he pretends
Joe Biden can pretend people are for gun restrictions all he wants, but as your story about Senate President John Morse illustrates, the real people have different ideas. Real people vote; pretend people don't.
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