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September 2, 2014, 3:09 am

Biden leads gun discussion panel

One day ahead of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, Vice President Joe Biden was in Philadelphia on Monday hosting a roundtable discussion advancing the administration’s gun control proposals.

The discussion, which was held at Girard College, took place as Delaware State Police were investigating a deadly shooting that happened inside the lobby of the New Castle Delaware Courthouse in Wilmington, Biden’s home state.

Biden was joined by Mayor Michael Nutter, local law enforcement officials, members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation and Deputy Attorney General James Cole. Congressmen Chaka Fattah, Bob Brady, Senator Bob Casey and Rep. Allyson Schwartz were also in attendance.

“As mayors of major cities, many of us do all we can to reduce gun violence, but our efforts are too often thwarted by trafficking from other areas and states,” Nutter said following the administration’s outlining of their proposals in January. “The president’s plan would institute background checks nationally and crack down on those who buy guns for the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. It will be an enormous help to us.”

The Obama administration has been pushing for new gun control laws since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14. Twenty-six people, mostly children, were murdered in the mass shooting.

“How much more bloodshed are we willing to tolerate? There is no need for assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips to be a part of the American civilian stockpile. I wholeheartedly support a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips, and I also support universal background checks for all those lining up to buy weapons of what should be termed weapons of mass destruction,” Brady said at an earlier press conference.

Last week during the House Democratic Issues Conference Biden said that the federal government has a duty to take the lead on this important issue.

“I can't imagine how [the parents] deal with it," Biden said in a published report. “But I can imagine how we will be judged as individuals, judged as a Congress, judged as a nation, if we do not. It's simply unacceptable. The ability, because of all this happening, to misrepresent our positions no longer exists as it did in 1994. The world has changed. The American public has changed. You can go into areas you're told you can't go and politically survive. I'm telling you, the times have changed.”

The Obama administration has outlined several key points in the gun control debate. Requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, reinstituting the federal ban on assault weapons and a ban on high capacity magazines, a federal gun trafficking law and giving law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crimes.