Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Vice President Joe Biden in Las Vegas, Nevada
Good morning. Thank you for coming out this beautiful Las Vegas morning.
The sun is shining. People are going about their days. At work. At school.
The voters of Nevada are gearing up to make their choice for the caucus this Saturday.
And by the end of the day, approximately 100 more people across the United States will be dead because of a gun.
Because of crime. Because of an accident. Because of a self-inflicted wound. Because of a stray shot. Because of intimate partner violence. Because of indiscriminate mass shootings.
Because of guns.
Another normal day in America.
But for Congressman Horsford, who at just 19-years-old lost his father because of a gun, and for all the family members here with me, and people all across the country — normal is a living nightmare.
October 1, 2017 was a normal day in Las Vegas until one man, in possession of a small arsenal of assault weapons, many modified with bump stocks to increase the speed of firing, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, opened fire on a crowd of people.
In just about 10 minutes, 58 innocents were dead, and hundreds more were wounded. The largest mass shooting in U.S. history.
Normal is unacceptable.
Moms like Stephanie do not accept a world where her bright, beautiful 4-year-old daughter is cut down by a stray bullet in front of her twin brother, and nothing changes.
I do not accept a world where we cannot stand up and say “no more” to the voices that offer empty words in the aftermath of tragedy, then oppose change and fuel this cycle of carnage.
I’ve beaten the National Rifle Association — twice — to pass meaningful gun safety legislation at the federal level. And I’ll do it again.
I’m incredibly proud of helping lead the fight to pass the Brady Bill, which created our system of background checks and kept more than 3 million guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
Now we need to follow the leadership and courage that Nevada’s Democratic legislature and Governor Sisolak have shown by instituting universal background checks — requiring background checks for every gun sale.
This is a common sense proposal that has the support of nearly 90 percent of Americans.
We can get it done nationally. It just takes a little bit of backbone.
Working with Dianne Feinstein, I got assault weapons and high-capacity magazines banned in this country for 10 years. We passed it despite pressure from the NRA. Because no one needs a weapon like the AR-15 — something designed for no other purpose than to kill as quickly and brutally as possible.
Every day that we do nothing about the epidemic of assault weapons and high capacity magazines on our streets, it is an insult to the innumerable lives across this nation that have been forever shattered by gun violence.
As president, I will get these weapons of war out of our communities.
And, it’s past time to correct one of the most egregious special-interest giveaways ever to pass the U.S. Congress — the civil liability protections granted to gun manufacturers
against being sued by the victims of gun violence.
Do you realize that three times as many people have been killed by guns in the United States of America as every single soldier killed in war, from Vietnam to today? 150,000 Americans have died in gun murders since 2005 — and that’s not counting suicides.
We don’t grant that kind of immunity to any other major industry.
Not the tobacco industry. Not the pharmaceutical industry. Just gun manufacturers.
And I think it’s one of the worst votes Senator Sanders has ever taken.
You should be able to walk into a court of law and demand that gun manufacturers,
with their enormous profits, be held accountable for the carnage that is inflicted with their products.
We’re going to repeal that protection when I am president.
In fact, on my first day in office, I’m going to send a bill to Congress repealing liability protections for gun manufacturers and closing the background check loopholes that let too many people slip through the cracks.
I stand with all the people here today.
We care about saving kids.
We care about not having an entire generation of children absolutely scarred because they’re afraid of being shot at school.
We care about keeping guns away from abusers.
We care about young boys and girls getting home safely after playing in their neighborhoods.
We care about fewer people, fewer of our veterans, dying by suicide with a gun.
I know well the pain of losing a loved one to indiscriminate chance.
A terrible car crash took the lives of my first wife and baby daughter. It’s a tragedy many people across the country have experienced. But no one thought we couldn’t make changes that could help prevent people from being killed in car accidents.
We passed seat belt laws, required airbags, we continue to make cars safer, we require licenses to drive and for cars to be registered and insured.
A terrible cancer took the life of my son Beau, but no one in their right mind thinks it’s not worth fighting for a cure to give the next patient a chance at survival.
Why are guns different?
The answer is simple: cowardice.
Our politicians and elected leaders are just too afraid of the NRA and the gun manufacturers to stand up and do what is right.
I’ve looked in the eye parents who have lost their children to gun violence.
I’ve looked in the eye brave young people who have survived school shootings.
And I made each of them a promise. It’s the same promise I make to all of you today and to families hurting all across this nation.
I will never give up this fight. I won’t stop until we beat the NRA.
And if you stand with me, we will pass laws to ban killer assault weapons and hold the gun makers liable.