Vice President Joe Biden renews call for background checks for firearm purchases


by Brian Washington

Just a few days after announcing he is planning a new gun safety offensive, Vice President Joe Biden has penned an opinion editorial in a major newspaper emphasizing the need for common-sense legislation, including background checks for firearms purchases.

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You’ll recall a similar measure proposing background checks for firearm purchases made online or at gun shows recently failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance in the U.S. Senate. However, Biden asserts the fight is not over.

Biden’s opinion editorial appeared in a major newspaper in Houston—the city where the National Rifle Association (NRA), the group that led the fight against the background check legislation that went down in the Senate, held its annual meeting over the weekend. In the piece, he talks about how background checks are a”reasonable requirement” for those seeking to purchase a firearm.

We reached a consensus in this country back in 1993 when we enacted the Brady Bill that a background check is a reasonable requirement to impose on an individual who walks into a gun store to purchase a firearm. These checks take just a few minutes. All we are seeking to do now is to expand that requirement to people who shop for guns at other venues such as gun shows, through classified ads and over the Internet.

Two U.S. senators with sterling NRA records, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, have written legislation that would do just that. We fell short on our first effort to pass Manchin-Toomey in the Senate, but we will not be deterred by one setback. We have an obligation to make sure that the voices of victims, not the voice of the NRA, ring loudest in this debate.

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