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Reducing Gun Violence

Vice President Joe Biden tells Parents how he believes we can reduce gun violence.

Mon, 25 Feb 2013|

-The first question comes from Mary Metzger Nadal. She asks, "If you can enact only 1 single law or regulation in regard to gun control, what do you believe would be the most effective one?" -Mary, I don't think there's any one law that would be most effective. I think-- from the outset, I pointed out this is a complicated issue and there's a multitask we have here to keep our children and our society safer. That includes background checks to keep guns out of the hands of people who, under the law, are not entitled to own them-- whether they're convicted felons; or whether they're fugitives in justice; or whether they are people who are convicted of spousal assault, etcetera; and people with adjudicated mental illnesses that disqualify them. Also, there's a need for us to deal with gun safety in the home. It's only rational. I have-- having raised children, and Mary, you probably-- if you read Parents Magazine, my guess is you have children or planning to having children. You wanna know that guns are kept safely out of the reach of children and you keep the cookies on the second shelf so they can't reach and then grab them all the time. People should not be in a position where their children have access to weapons and ammunition. Thirdly, there is a need for us to make sure that we, in my view, when talking to police officers, they say they are being outgunned in the street and something need to be done by these high caliber weapons with magazines that hold multiple, multiple rounds that are referred to quite often as assault weapons. And they need help; they're literally outgunned. We also need to deal with the whole mental health aspect of this issue. Parents who have children who-- and are people who need help and I know they need some help-- are often unable to get it because it's either not affordable or not available to them. And there is a probability that some of the god-awful things we've seen could be avoided. For example, there are-- there are close to 20,000 people who commit suicide by the use of a gun. Who knows, whether or not if there are greater mental health resources available, a lot of those lives may be saved. There's also a need for us to see to it that, in addition to background checks and as well as limitations on magazines and assault weapons in mental health, that we begin to educate the public about physically-- physical school safety. When I wrote the so-called Crime Bill, not so called, it was referred as the Biden Crime Bill in 1994, there was a provision that allowed for school resource officers and that is to have a sworn officer in the school who would be there available and establish relationships with the children in that school and gain the confidence of them so that a child would feel-- the student would feel comfortable saying, "You know, John-- Officer John, you know, when so and so opened his locker today, there was a butt of a pistol hanging out of the top of his locker." Or "There's going to be a drug deal going down in the school, behind school, etcetera." We found that those school resource officers were of value in many schools. We haven't been funding them of late. We think they should be funded. We should-- think we should give the local school district the option of having an armed policeman or an unarmed policeman or for that matter, if they conclude they'd rather have a counselor in the school, school psychologist, they could get-- use the money for those purposes. But there's multiple things that have to be done, none of which are gonna solve the whole problem and all of which-- all of which combined will not prevent all violent use of weapons illegally in our society.