Vice President Convenes First Meeting To Address Violence
This is the full text provide by a pool reporter, Philip Rucker of the Washington Post.
Vice President Biden convened the first meeting of his working group to explore solutions following the Newtown shooting. Your pool was escorted in at the top of the meeting, shortly after 1 p.m. Biden sat at the center of a long wooden table in the Cordell Hull Conference Room on the second floor of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
Biden sat between Thomas Nee, President of the National Association of Police Organizations, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, President of Police Executive Research Forum & Major Cities Chiefs Association. Ramsey was dressed in uniform, his hat resting on the wooden table in front of him. Biden wore a navy tie and a pin-striped suit.
Attorney General Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, Education Secretary Duncan and Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius were also at the table, as well as other law enforcement representatives and senior White House officials. A full list of participants is at the bottom of the pool report. Each participant had copies of a colored spreadsheet printed on oversized paper, but your pooler could not make out what it said.
Biden spoke for about three minutes before your pool. My audio was not great, so please double check quotes against the transcript when it comes. He acknowledged that he has long working relationships with many leaders in the law enforcement community, many of whom worked with him to help write the 1994 crime bill. Biden said many of them helped come up with ideas about community policing, among other initiatives.
“I’ve worked with some of you for a long, long time,” he said.
Biden said, “We have to have a comprehensive way in which to respond to the mass murder of our children that we saw in Connecticut.”
After President Obama tapped him to lead this effort, Biden said the first group he wanted to meet with was law enforcement.
“You have a much more holistic view about how to deal with violence on our streets and in our country,” Biden said. He added, “I know you all; I know you well.”
Then, Biden said, “The president is absolutely committed to keeping his promise that we will act and we will act in a way that is designed – even if as he says we can only save one life — we have to take action.”
Biden added that “there’s some things we can immediately do, and we’re going to need your help.” He said he sees “no reason” why the assault weapons ban can’t pass the Congress. “Quite frankly, you guys helped me write it,” he said. (Check transcript for this full quote; audio in this portion is hard to hear clearly.)
“We’ve worked on everything from cop-killer bullets to type of weapons that should be off the street,” Biden added. “That’s what I want to talk to you about today, I want to hear your views, because for anything to get done we’re going to need your advocacy.”
At that, Biden asked your press pool to leave so he could have a “frank” discussion with the assembled law enforcement leaders.
Here is some background information from a White House official:
Today the Vice President is meeting with law enforcement leaders from around the country. In the coming days and weeks, he will likely hear from gun safety advocates and gun owners; mental health professionals and educators; faith and community leaders; local, state, and federal elected officials; and any number of other people with valuable perspectives on the subject.
· Vice President Joe Biden
· Attorney General Eric Holder
· Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
· Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
· Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius
· Gil Kerlikowske, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
Law Enforcement Representatives:
· Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association – Jon Adler, National President
· Fraternal Order of Police – Jim Pasco, Executive Director
· International Association of Chiefs of Police – Chief Walt McNeil, Immediate Past President (Police Chief, Quincy, FL)
· Major County Sheriffs’ Association – Sheriff Rich Stanek, President (Sheriff, Hennepin County, MN)
· National Association of Police Organizations – Thomas Nee, President (Police Officer, Boston, MA)
· National Latino Peace Officers Association – Jaime Solis, Eastern Regional Vice President (Federal Officer, Locust Grove, VA)
· National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence – Chief Jim Johnson, Chair (Police Chief, Baltimore County, MD)
· National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives –Chief John Dixon, First Vice President (Police Chief, Petersburg, VA)
· National Sheriffs’ Association – Tim Woods, Director of Government Affairs
· National Troopers Coalition – Mathew Hodapp, Chairman (Trooper, New Prague, MN)
· Police Executive Research Forum & Major Cities Chiefs Association – Commissioner Charles Ramsey, President (Police Commissioner, Philadelphia, PA)
· Police Executive Research Forum – Chuck Wexler, Executive Director
· Bruce Reed
· Valerie Jarrett
· Cecilia Munoz
· Kathy Ruemmler