WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden urged Senate Democrats to continue push to enact sweeping new gun control laws this year, bluntly telling them that the Sandy Hook massacre has changed the political calculus.
Emerging from an hour-long luncheon with Democrats, Biden insisted that the nation's position on guns has shifted in the months after the attack.
"You know, the visual image of those 20 innocent children being riddled with bullets has absolutely not only traumatized the nation but … it is the straw that has broke the camel's back," Biden said.
Noting that he spent much of his Senate career pursuing gun control legislation, Biden said for the first time, disparate groups that have long resisted strict laws have now begun to come to the table. "Now, the evangelical groups are sitting down saying, 'We must do something. We must do something.'"
"I'm not saying there is an absolute consensus. But there is a sea change, a sea change in the attitudes of the American people. And I believe the American people will not understand … if we don't act," Biden added.
However, the vice president acknowledged that "nothing we do is going to fundamentally alter the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down to a thousand a year from what it is now. But there are things we can do, demonstrably can do, that have virtually zero impact on your Second Amendment right … that can save some lives."
"This is not a difficult equation. If I can prove there is no constitutional impact on your right to bear arms and the action I'm suggesting can in fact demonstrably show some people could be saved, then it seems to be a no-brainer."
John Stanton is a senior national correspondent for BuzzFeed News. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
Contact John Stanton at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.