Biden tells mayors ‘this isn’t just about guns’

Rachel Rose Hartman

Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday told a gathering of the nation's mayors that efforts to end gun violence is about more than just enacting new gun restrictions.

"This isn’t just about guns," Biden said at a meeting the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington. Video games, movies and aspects of popular culture are contributing factors in gun violence, Biden said.

Biden also reaffirmed his and own and Obama's support for Second Amendment rights.

Biden used his appearance at the meeting to systematically make the case for the sweeping gun violence plan introduced Wednesday by President Barack Obama, which includes ending the manufacturing of new assault weapons and banning ammunition clips holding more than 10 bullets as well as establishing universal background checks and other provisions. Biden, at Obama's request, helped devise the plan in the wake of last month's mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 26 people dead, including 20 children.

Biden argued Thursday that there's no reason for a criminal to buy a gun from a store or another seller who requires a background check when he can find a loophole to buy one without a check.

"Forty percent of people who buy guns today do so outside the background check system," Biden said.

In making the case for smaller ammunition clips, Biden said the guman who shot and critically wounded former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed several attendees at a local town hall meeting in January 2011 was stopped when attempting to reload his weapon.

"As one hunter told me, if you got 12 rounds, it means you've already missed the deer 11 times," Biden said. "You don't deserve to have a gun," if you need that many rounds, he joked.

Biden said the administration knows that gun issues vary widely from locality to locality and national policies require a multi-faceted response.

"We recognize how different all our states and cities are. How different the gun culture is-- a healthy gun culture-- in rural America than in urban America," Biden said. He said his home state of Delaware has high gun ownership due to the popularity of duck hunting.