Cumberland Times-News

Local News

January 25, 2013

Biden: Virginia Tech showed background checks needed

Roundtable meetings planned around country

RICHMOND, Va. — The 2007 Virginia Tech shooting illustrated the importance of strengthening background checks to ensure guns are not sold to people who cannot legally buy them, Vice President Joe Biden said Friday.

Biden spoke briefly to reporters after leading a two-hour roundtable discussion about what to do in the wake of the elementary school shooting last month in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 students and six adults dead. Also participating in the roundtable were Obama administration officials and a few people who served on a Virginia task force that made recommendations after the Tech shooting that left 32 dead — the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.

‘‘It’s a national trag-edy and a window into the vulnerability people feel about their safety and the safety of their children,’’ Biden said of Newtown.

Much of the focus of the discussion, Biden said, was on improving mental health services and making sure records of those declared ineligible to own a gun are transmitted to the national databank for background checks. The group also discussed gun safety and trafficking, he said.

The meeting was held at Virginia Commonwealth University, less than two miles from a state Capitol where lawmakers in recent days have rejected the same gun control measures advocated by President Barack Obama: universal background checks and bans on combat-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, who was governor at the time of the Tech shooting, was among the participants in the closed-door meeting.

‘‘We have the scar tissue of tragedy, but also reason to be hopeful,’’ he said, pointing to changes Virginia made after the Tech massacre to become a national leader in reporting ineligible gun buyers to the background check database.

Biden did not discuss banning assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Kaine told report-ers later that he’s open to the idea but wants to ‘‘make sure the definitions are right’’ in whatever legislation Congress considers.

He was more definitive in supporting universal background checks. The law already specifies who cannot own a gun, he said, and background checks are the only way to enforce the law.

‘‘To be against background checks is to say you want people to have guns illegally,’’ Kaine said.

Biden said the administration is planning similar roundtable discussions around the country.

Text Only
Local News
Must Read
News related video
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve 3 People Killed, Deputies Wounded in NC Shootout Suing Obama: GOP-led House Gives the Go-ahead Obama: 'Blood of Africa Runs Through My Veins' Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Air Force: Stowaway Triggers Security Review Minnesota Fire Engulfs Home, Two Garages Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Officials Unsure of UCLA Flood Repair Date At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii