Vice President Biden meets with Senate Democrats about gun legislation

January 31, 2013
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Vice President Biden dined with Senate Democrats on Thursday and discussed the Obama administration's new proposals to limit gun violence, marking his first formal meeting with his colleagues to explain the proposals presented by President Obama two weeks ago.

Speaking with reporters after the weekly Senate Democratic policy luncheon, Biden said that he was "basically reiterating" how his task force came up with its recommendations for Obama in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that killed 26 people in December.

He spoke at length with senators about how public attitudes had changed after Newtown: "It's like the straw that broke the camel's back. ... There is a sea change — a sea change — in the attitude" toward gun control, Biden said.

Biden added that his proposals won't adversely affect Second Amendment rights and that they also won't entirely solve the problem of gun violence. Still, Biden said, they "can save some lives."

Sen. Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.) attended the lunch and said Biden told senators "that Sandy Hook changed everything and we have an opportunity to pass common-sense gun reform and we should capitalize, that we shouldn’t lose it. He really spent most of the time outlining the proposal, so it wasn’t a lot of politics.”

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who was one of several senators to question witnesses Wednesday at the first Senate hearing on gun violence since the shooting, added that "the message was that he really wants to work with us to make sure he’s getting the best result that he can."

Paul Kane contributed to this report.

Follow Ed O'Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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Sean Sullivan · January 31, 2013