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Background Checks Don’t Threaten Second Amendment, Biden Says

A gun store employee in Los Angeles inspects a semi-automatic rifle. An Obama administration plan to reduce gun violence includes restricting sales of assault weapons. Photo by Reuters/ Lucy Nicholson.

Vice President Joe Biden said that a proposal to require background checks on all gun sales won’t endanger second amendment rights.

“Universal background checks in no way affect a person’s ability to own a gun,” Biden said just prior to starting a roundtable discussion on ways to reduce gun violence with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Deputy U.S. Attorney General Jim Cole.

Explore all of NewsHour’s coverage on the Gun Debate.

In his opening remarks, Biden also said information on gun sales should be entered into a national database.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, D-Va., also are participating in the discussion taking place on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.

In 2007, 32 students at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., were killed in what was then called the worst episode of mass gun violence on a school campus. In his opening remarks, Kaine, who at the time served as Virginia’s governor, said he was successful at reducing gun violence through enforcement of existing law.

“One of the things we did was fix the background system in Virginia,” Kaine said.

Biden’s trip to Virginia is the first of several trips across the country planned by members of the Obama administration in order to garner support for proposals aimed at reducing gun violence. In addition to background checks, the proposals include a ban on high-capacity magazines and on assault weapons.

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