WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden met Thursday with Senate Democrats to brief the caucus about the rationale behind the administration's recommendations on guns, arguing that, in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shooting, the nation "will not understand if we don't act."
Biden seemed intent to emphasize that the most politically challenging of the initiatives he has recommended — an assault weapons ban — was still a priority for the administration, mentioning it first in remarks to reporters afterward.
"My message was to lay out for my colleagues what our game plan was, what we thought needed to be done," Biden said after the meeting. "I made the case for not only assault weapons but for the entire set of recommendations the president laid out."
Biden said he also asked to sit down with the key parties on Capitol Hill to plot strategy going forward.
A day after the Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing on guns, the vice president said there has been a "sea change" in public opinion since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, calling it the "straw that broke the camel's back" to get the public behind gun measures for the first time in decades.
Participants in the meeting said the vice president indicated he will continue to travel to make the administration's case, as will the president.
Biden maintained that while there is no way to eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting, "there are things that we can do that have virtually zero impact on your Second Amendment right to own a weapon for both self-defense and recreation that can save some lives."