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Biden: Congress Needs to Act to Reduce Gun Violence

June 19, 2013

A little more than six months after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, Vice President Biden said yesterday that he and President Obama have not given up the fight to reduce gun violence.

In January, the Vice President said, “the President and I stood in this very room, joined by the victims of gun violence, parents, teachers, members of law enforcement, and many others, as we made a simple promise to the American people. We said we will do everything that we can, everything in our power to reduce gun violence in this country."

And although a minority of the Senate voted down common-sense legislation that would keep our kids and communities safer, President Obama has "moved forward on what was within his power, what executive actions he could take," the Vice President explained. "Today, I can report that he announced 23 executive actions; 21 of them have been completed or there has been major progress made toward the total completion and that we’re on track to finish the job."

Progress includes strengthening the existing background check system to help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, giving law enforcement officials more of the tools they need to prevent and respond to gun crime, making schools safer and ensuring they are prepared to respond to emergencies, encouraging responsible gun ownership, ending the freeze on gun violence research, and improving access to mental health care.

The Administration has more work to do to complete the remainder of the executive actions, and work will continue on these important steps in the weeks and months ahead.

But Congress must also act. Passing common-sense gun safety legislation, including expanding background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, remains the single most important step we could take to reduce gun violence.

“As proud as the President is, as proud as I am of the progress we’ve made, we need Congress to act,” the Vice President said. “The American people are demanding it."

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