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Biden: “We Will Be Judged as a Society if We Do Nothing”

Vice President Joe Biden today said. Photo by Jim Greenhill via Flickr.

Vice President Joe Biden today said that it’s unacceptable for politicians not to take on legislation to prevent gun violence. Photo by Jim Greenhill via Flickr.

We will never be the same as we were before the tragedy in Newtown, Governor Dannel Malloy said this morning at a conference on reducing gun violence. “We have changed,” he said. “And I believe it is now time for our laws to do the same.”

The conference, held at Western CT State University, included Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, and dozens of educators, law enforcement officials, and state and local government leaders, including CEA President Sheila Cohen.

Malloy told the audience that he has today issued a gun violence prevention proposal that includes:

• Making Background Checks Universal and Comprehensive
• Banning Large Capacity Magazines
• Strengthening the Assault Weapons Ban
• Promoting Safer Gun Storage
• Improving Enforcement of Existing Laws

“We run a risk of letting this critical moment in history pass us by,” Malloy said. Read his complete proposal here.

This morning’s conference was organized by Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty. They emphasized the need for action not just here in Connecticut, but on the national level.

Blumenthal said, “Connecticut can’t go it alone; we need national action. It can’t just be rhetoric.” Esty said, “There are common sense laws that we will pass. Not just in this state, but in Washington too.”

Vice President Biden, who himself lost his young daughter and his wife to a tragic traffic accident soon after being elected to the Senate, told the families of the Sandy Hook victims that he greatly admires their courage. “We owe you a debt of courage for being willing to stay in the ring,” he said. “I didn’t have the courage to do what you’re doing.”

Biden continued, saying that it’s not too much to ask politicians to show some courage too. “People write about the political risk, but it’s unacceptable not to take this on.” The audience responded with loud applause and the Vice President added, “If you’re concerned about your political survival, you should be concerned about the survival of our children.”

“I can’t imagine how we will be judged as a society if we do nothing — what will be written of us 20 and 30 years from now if we don’t act,” Biden said.

In addition to the discussion on reducing gun violence, the conference also included a panel that addressed mental health and school safety initiatives.

Lynn McDonnell, the mother of seven-year-old Grace who died at Sandy Hook, said, “We are strengthened by the commitment of everyone here to make a change.” She continued, “We ask that our representatives look into their hearts and remember the 26 beautiful lives that we lost and pass meaningful laws to make sure that this never happens again.”

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