Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Biden Pushes Gun Control with Officials in Philadelphia

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Biden Pushes Gun Control with Officials in Philadelphia

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA -- A day before the State of the Union address, Vice President Joe Biden joined law enforcement officials and elected Democrats here to press the case for gun-control measures that have become part of the national dialogue since the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

After a private discussion with officials such as U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa. -- who changed his position after the shooting to support an assault weapons ban -- Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Mr. Biden said proposals including requiring background checks of all gun purchasers and limiting high-capacity magazines would allow the nation to answer to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School without infringing on the rights of gun owners.

"If we can save the life of one single person -- one child -- without any impact on an individual's constitutional rights, then why in God's name should we not do that?" he said. "We are going to be judged very harshly if we don't respond."

Surveys of registered voters in Pennsylvania show support for many of the proposals. A Mercyhurst University poll released Monday found majorities of state voters support banning military-style assault rifles and requiring background checks for all gun sales, proposals Mr. Obama has asked Congress to pass.

The president has also called for prohibiting the sale and production of magazines with more than 10 rounds. The survey found most Pennsylvania voters think a ban on "large capacity" ammunition magazines would help prevent mass shootings.

In Philadelphia, Mr. Biden was joined by Democratic members of Congress -- U.S. Reps. Allyson Schwartz, D-Montgomery, Chaka Fattah, D-Philadelphia, and Bob Brady, D-Philadelphia -- as well as prominent law enforcement officials such as Philadelphia police Commissioner Charles Ramsey. Police Chief Christine Dunning of Wilmington, Del., attended the event after a fatal shooting took place earlier in the day in a courthouse there.

Absent were Republican members of Congress. …

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