First Vice President Kamala Harris spoke, pointing out that her time as a prosecutor in California was one spent dealing with the fallout of gun violence. She reminded the country where we have been on the subject of gun safety for over a decade now: “Time and again, as progress has stalled, we have all asked what are we waiting for? Because we aren’t waiting for a tragedy, I know that.” Saying we have had “more tragedy than we can bear,” Harris went on to point out: “We aren’t waiting for solutions either, because the solutions exist. They already exist.”
Biden began by diagnosing the issue at hand very adeptly, saying that it’s not simply a “gun crisis” our country is facing, but “a public health crisis” related to guns. He called right-wing opposition to common sense gun safety legislation “phony arguments,” assuring Second Amendment heads that he wasn’t recommending that they lose their Second Amendment rights; instead, he was suggesting that not unlike the First Amendment, there are parameters of public interest and safety that must be drawn. “You cannot yell fire in a crowded theater.”
Biden explained that he was not trying to infringe upon the Bill of Rights; in fact, he was only doing what the head of the executive branch of our government is tasked to do: Enforce the Constitution and the laws of the land. It is historically inaccurate that the Second Amendment has always meant that there are no laws governing what kinds of firearms American citizens are allowed to own and use. “It is just bizarre, the idea that some of the things that we are recommending are contrary to the Constitution.”
He then gave a mission statement heard around these orange Daily Kos halls for a long time now: “Gun violence in this country is an epidemic. Let me say that again: Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and an embarrassment.” He proceeded to talk about the many victims of gun violence, the children who parents have lost, the parents children have lost, the many people left to pick up the pieces after these out of control gun tragedies. He thanked them for having the courage to be at the event as painful as it is to continue reliving the worst tragedies of their lives, hoping that government would do even a little bit to make sure this doesn’t happen to more families and people like themselves.
Watch or listen to this week’s Daily Kos’ The Brief podcast, where hosts Kerry Eleveld and Cara Zelaya talk with experts on the hopes for reforming gun laws under the Biden administration.
Biden gave some of the terrifying gun violence numbers that the United States sees over the span of one week and then broke down the executive recommendations he was making, as well as outlining what his administration needs to happen going forward if we are going to be a country that does not just accept our unique gun violence epidemic as inevitable. “This is not a partisan issue among the American people. This is a view by the American people as an American issue. And I’m willing to work with anyone to get these done. And it’s long past time that we act.”
Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy released his statement shortly after the Biden announcement that led with: “Today, President Biden announced his attempts to trample over our constitutional Second Amendment rights by executive fiat.” So, there really isn’t anything else to report on the Republican side of the aisle. McCarthy said something about law-abiding citizens losing their rights while something something border crisis and immigration. Arguably the most satirical part of McCarthy’s statement was mentioning that “murder rates in major American cities rose 33 percent last year,” and somehow blaming that on the new Biden administration. It isn’t surprising considering that McCarthy’s campaign tills are filled with blood-soaked NRA money.
Most of the Republicans topping the NRA and gun lobby money list are still in office, and they continue to rake in tons of blood money in order to stifle meaningful public health legislation around guns.