Friends, family, dozens of senators and other officials, including Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gathered under a Park Avenue synagogue’s stained glass dome Wednesday to pay tribute to New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg, who died Monday at the age of 89.
The touching service included many moments of laughter and tears. But the highlight was the eulogy by Mr. Biden, who joked about how Mr. Lautenberg never stopped one-upping him during the 25 years they served together as close friends in the senate.
As the U.S. Congress debates gun control legislation, two of the countries’ leading advocates on the issue–Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Michael Bloomberg–held a City Hall press conference today to pressure federal lawmakers to have enough “courage” to vote in favor of the bill when it hits the floor. Standing behind victims’ family members from last year’s massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, Mr. Biden and Mr. Bloomberg argued the measures being proposed are neither controversial or unconstitutional.
“There’s not one single thing being proposed–not one, not one , not one, not one–that infringes on anyone’s Second Amendment constitutional right. Not one,” Mr. Biden said. “Three months ago, a deranged man walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School with a weapon of war. That’s what he walked in with–a weapon of war. That weapon of war has no place on American streets and taking it off American streets has no impact on one’s constitutional right to own a weapon.”
Earlier this afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden attended a gun violence conference a few miles from the location of last year’s infamous Newtown school shooting massacre. And Mr. Biden, who has led the White House’s push for stricter policies on guns in the shooting’s wake, passionately argued that gun control is no longer the untouchable “third rail” in our political system. Indeed, Mr. Biden took his contention in the opposite direction and said politicians are now compelled to engage the issue.
“Our understanding assumption is–in American politics today–[is] that this is kind of a third rail of politics,” Mr. Biden declared. “That if you take this on, somehow there will be a severe political price to pay for doing it because that’s what happened in the past. That’s what happened in the past. People say–and you read, and people write about–the political risk and why they’re unacceptable to take on. I say it’s unacceptable to not take these on. It’s simply unacceptable.”
Vice President Joe Biden participated in a Google+ “hangout” this afternoon to discuss President Barack Obama’s gun control plan. Mr. Biden stressed his belief the plan, which includes an assault weapons ban, would help prevent law enforcement personnel from being “outgunned.” He also addressed concerns the ban would infringe on peoples’ ability to protect themselves by suggesting a shotgun is far more useful than any assault weapon for self-defense in the event of a situation such as a major natural disaster.
“You know, guess what? A shotgun will keep you a lot safer, a double-barrelled shotgun, than the assault weapon in somebody’s hands who doesn’t know how to use it, even one who does know how to use it,” Mr. Biden explained while using his hands to mimic the gesture of holding a shotgun for added effect. “You know, it’s harder to use an assault weapon to hit something than it is a shotgun OK? So, you want to keep people away in an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells.” Continue reading “Joe Biden Explains Why Assault Weapons Aren’t Necessary for Self-Defense”→
At the inaugural reception earlier this afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden proved he still has the ability to go off script.
As various speakers–including President Barack Obama–stood behind the room’s podium to offer toasts, Mr. Biden offered a heap of praise on Mr. Obama before quickly announcing his toast would instead go to one of his former colleagues in the U.S. Senate, New York’s Chuck Schumer.