Biden: 'It would be unacceptable not to take these risks'Posted: Updated:
Vice President Joe Biden told state and town leaders as well as members of the media that the time to act was now and if they didn't, it would be unacceptable.
"We can't remain silent," the vice president said about the tragedy at the Newtown school shooting. "We have to speak for all those voices, for those 20 beautiful children."
Biden said during a conference at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury that there is "no one thing that could be done" to curb gun violence in America.
"The one thing I believe is there is so much we can do," said the vice president, who spoke in a somber tone for most of his speech.
Biden, who was appointed the head of a national task force on gun violence, made the following recommendations:
- Wants universal background checks on every weapon sold
- Limits high-capacity magazines
- Strengthening the assault weapons ban
- Creating a federal database that tracks convicted felons
- Adding more guns on the streets
- Provide more funding for studies on gun violence
- Allow schools to hire more resource officers or use money school psychologist or counselors
- Providing more mental health services for children
"Even if we do all those things, we can guarantee that there will not be another mass shooting," said Biden, during the invite-only event.
Biden praised Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and many elected officials including U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal for their courage following Dec. 14 where a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
"If you are concerned about your political survival, you should be worried about your children's survival," Biden said.
The parents of Grace McDonnell were hopeful that their daughter did not die in vain.
"My daughter's voice should be heard," said Lynn McDonnell. "We hope others find the need to act."
Biden also praised the families for their courage and knew it was difficult attending the conference Thursday because it makes them relive the tragedy.
"You have a hell of a lot more courage than I do," he said. "And we owe you a debt of gratitude."
Biden added that national, state and local leaders have to do their best and it will lead to fewer deaths among children.
"Folks, we have to act even if we save the life of one child," Biden said.
Outnumbered at the forum, gun owner Dom Basile said he feels there are more reasonable compromises such as gun buy-back programs and keeping guns away from those who shouldn't have them.
"But from what I have been told, Nancy Lanza did not have her firearms properly secured," he said. "I think that's the crux of the problem."
The vice president told the packed house that people between the ages of 16 and 25 are the most at risk for mental health problems and the least likely to seek help.
He is advocating to have 5,000 more people trained as mental health professionals and expanding the ability for people to have mental health services.
Former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd is working with the entertainment industry to create public service announcements to help eliminate the stigma behind getting help for mental health issues.
"It prevents treatment getting it," said Biden, who wants a comprehensive discussion on mental health services.
The vice president also said that the vast majority of Americans understand that the federal government is not trying to take away people's guns.
"We got to get this done," he said.
Biden added that there were too many guns on the streets and police told him that they are being "outgunned."
"They are not needed," he said when discussing assault weapons.
Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.