Biden makes emotional plea for vote on gun bill

An emotional Vice President Biden urged Congress Tuesday to vote on each of the Obama administration's gun-control proposals, imploring lawmakers that "it is time to stand up and be counted."

Speaking after a morning meeting with parents who lost children in the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn, Biden recounted how, as the group left his residence, he spotted a pair of his grandchildren's soccer balls on the lawn.

He said he regretted not collecting them the night before, realizing what memories they would evoke in the Newtown parents on a beautiful spring day.

"No one said anything," Biden told the hushed audience of law enforcement officials, many of them in uniform. "But we all knew."

Biden expressed angry dismay that a group of U.S. senators had threatened to filibuster a vote on gun-control proposals less than four months after the Sandy Hook shooting.

The gunman killed 20 children and six adult educators on the campus, which Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. told the audience Tuesday that he toured soon after the massacre and saw "dried blood" on the walls. Among those from Newtown whom Biden met with was a man whose wife was killed that day.

“The public is so far beyond where the Congress is," Biden said. ‘It’s time for them to say what they think should or should not be done to diminish the possibility of another Sandy Hook.”

Biden spoke as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that he intended to bring the first gun measures to the floor for a vote on Thursday, as a number of Republican senators announced that they would not support a filibuster.

Biden acknowledged that pressure was being applied to lawmakers "in back rooms" by the National Rifle Association and other guns-rights groups. But, he said, members of Congress should be more mindful of another group.

“They say what am I going to say to the NRA? I ask what are you going to say to those parents?” Biden said. “We are going to win this fight. We are going to win this fight. This is not going to go away.”

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Aaron Blake · April 9, 2013