New York, March 22 (IANS/EFE) US Vice President Joe Biden Thursday demanded “courage” from Congress in approving gun control measures that would include a ban on assault rifles.
He spoke at New York City Hall at a joint press conference with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and relatives of the victims of the Dec 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
“It’s time for the political establishment to show the courage your daughter showed,” Biden said to the family of Sandy Hook teacher Lauren Rousseau, who died trying to protect her students from shooter Adam Lanza.
The vice president made his remarks just two days after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that he will not submit the gun control proposal including the assault rifle ban to a vote since it does not have the support needed among lawmakers to pass.
Lanza used an AR-15, the civilian equivalent of the US military’s M-16 combat rifle, to carry out the Newtown killings.
Biden said Thursday that during the years when the sale of this type of weapon was prohibited, between 1993 and 2004, “there was not a constitutional challenge that went anywhere to the existence of the ban”.
“So let’s get this straight, this is not about anybody’s constitutional right to own a weapon,” the vice president said.
“For all of those who say we can’t and shouldn’t ban assault weapons, for all those who say the politics is just too hard, how can they say that? When you take a look at those 20 beautiful babies and what happened to them? And those six teachers and administrators? Think about Newtown. Think about Newtown,” Biden said Thursday.
Bloomberg, a prominent advocate of gun control, was equally blunt.
“The only question is whether Congress will have the courage to do the right thing – or whether they will allow more innocent people, including innocent children, to be gunned down,” the New York mayor said.