Unlike Congress, the Obama administration is following through on promises to curb gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday. He had a message for opponents of improving gun safety: They “will pay a political price.”
“This fight isn’t over, far from it,” Biden said, repeating promises to get gun control measures pushed through the resistant halls of Congress. “The most important message is that the president and I and our team haven’t given up” and “our friends in the House and Senate haven’t given up.”
Biden told gun safety advocates gathered at the White House Tuesday that the administration has completed or made significant headway on 21 out of the 23 executive actions ordered by Obama back in January, following the Newtown school shooting that killed 20 kids and six educators.
The remaining two executive actions that still need to be completed: finalizing regulations that require insurers to cover part of mental health costs with medical benefits and confirming a director at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The vice president touched upon his extreme disappointment stemming from the vote on the background checks bill in April, which the Senate rejected in a 54-46 vote—six votes short of the 60 needed to pass. “I’d hoped we would have assembled here a couple of months ago celebrating the first in a number of victories that we will have,” Biden told the crowd of gun control advocates gathered in the South Court Auditorium of the White House.
Despite the sweeping momentum from the American public and emotional pleas from shooting survivors and family members of victims, Biden said lawmakers “voted no on a rational, simple straight forward extension of an existing background checks system.”
In coinciding with the six-month anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Biden emailed Democrats last week, expressing optimism Congress will pass meaningful reform. Earlier in June, the White House also hosted a mental health conference, a topic that was among Obama’s sweeping proposal for new gun control legislation.
Obama was not on hand for the event because he’s been traveling in Europe, attending the G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland and visiting Berlin.