FW: VP pool report #2 - gun violence event

From: Jordan Fabian [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2016 5:06 PM
To: Lance, Kirsten E. EOP/OVP
Subject: VP pool report #2 - gun violence event

Vice President Biden spoke to the White House’s Gun Violence Prevention Convening for State and Local Officials.

No news, but here are some highlights from his remarks.

Pool was led into a room in the EEOB at 3:22 p.m., which was filled with about 100 people waiting for the VP to speak.

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), who leads the House gun violence prevention task force, served as an impromptu hype man, warming up the crowd for the VP who was running late.

Biden entered the room at 3:34 p.m. to a standing ovation.

Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy (D) introduced him. He praised President Obama and Biden for “reigniting” a previously dormant national conversation on gun violence, adding that “no one has more credibility on this issue than Vice President Biden.”

Biden drew laughs when let the crowd know he would be veering off-script from his prepared remarks. “I’m not going to go through what they’ve prepared for me here, which is good.”

“We know that gun violence is ravaging our communities,” said Biden. “Of all the civilized countries in the world, this is an exception. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is no reason for it to be this way.”

He praised state and local leaders for “taking some real chances, taking some real hits” in passing gun laws of their own and he urged them not to lose hope over congressional inaction on federal background check legislation.

Biden said “it took a hell of a long time” to pass the last major federal gun-control bill in the early 1990s.

“I don’t know anything that’s difficult that comes quickly.”

He talked up Obama administration executive actions to strengthen the background check process.

But he also urged officials across the country to take action if their states don’t report information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

“You guys can make a big difference back home,” he said. “We can save lives.”

He suggested the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech could have been prevented if the background check system had more information at its disposal.

“There’s going to be, and there has been, another Virginia Tech, where you’ve got a guy who, if they had just reported this information to the NICS system, there would be half a dozen people still alive,” Biden said. “It really matters.”

Biden also lashed out at gun-rights groups like the National Rifle Association for putting pressure on gun manufacturers and sellers against so-called “smart gun” technology.

“It’s amazing how the NRA and some gun-owner organizations have gone ballistic, no pun intended, about the notion we should be looking at safe gun technology.”

Biden said the administration is not trying to undermine the Second Amendment, but stressed that more can be done legally to prevent gun violence.

“Whether you all like it or not, there is a Second Amendment. It is real. It exists and it must be upheld,” he said.

Biden said that congressional dysfunction has reached unprecedented levels “in modern history, short of the Civil War,” meaning that “we’re probably not going to get much more done in the next nine months” on gun control.

But he urged state and local officials to continue to pursue new gun control measures on their own.

“It matters. It has a cumulative impact,” he said. “It’s a long way of saying, ‘don’t quit on this.’”

The VP finished his remarks at 4:11 p.m., drawing another standing ovation.

He stepped away from the podium and mingled with audience members in the front row, but his remarks were not audible to the pool in the back of the room.

A minute later, Biden declared “I’m outta here!” and left the room.

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Jordan Fabian | White House Correspondent | The Hill | 1625 K Street, NW Washington, DC 20006 | xxx@email.com | Desk: (202) xxx-xxx-xxxx | Mobile: (202) xxx-xxx-xxxx | Twitter: @Jordanfabian

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