Vice President Joseph R. Biden tried to shame Republican senators Tuesday into supporting the administration’s gun control measures, accusing opponents of failing to understand the pain of parents who lost children in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December.
“What has to happen to break through the consciousness of the people up on the Hill?” Mr. Biden said at a White House event. “They’re talking about filibustering — what are they doing?”
More than a dozen Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have vowed to filibuster proposals for expanded background checks on gun purchases and tougher penalties on “straw” purchasers. Democratic leaders have scheduled a vote for Thursday to begin debate.
Mr. Biden said the U.S. would be humiliated before the rest of the world if lawmakers filibuster the gun control measures.
“What an embarrassing thing to say,” Mr. Biden said. “The rest of the world follows everything we do. I’ve traveled almost 700,000 miles around the world, I promise you, just in the last four years. … In sophisticated capitals and less sophisticated capitals, they all reported on Sandy Hook. They all reported on [the movie theater shooting in] Aurora. What do you think is being said today in those capitals about us?”
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., appearing with Mr. Biden, said the American public deserves a vote on the merits of the legislation.
“The American people deserve these votes in spite of the pressure that the special interests and the lobbyists are exerting in back rooms on our elected representatives,” he said.
Mr. Holder said he toured Sandy Hook a few days after the shooting, calling it “without question the worst moments of my career.”
“I walked the halls where these unspeakable acts took place,” Mr. Holder said. “I saw the dried blood. I saw the horrific crime scene photos. I told [law enforcement officials] I would not rest until we have secured the common-sense changes that our nation needs.”
Mr. Biden claimed the National Rifle Association is spreading “disinformation” about the legislation, including what he said was the false claim that the federal government would create a central gun registry.
The “black helicopter crowd really is upset,” Mr. Biden said. “But guess what? None of this is true.”
The vice president said that within 24 hours of a gun dealer receiving approval to sell a gun, the FBI must destroy the information.
“No way that Uncle Sam can go find out whether you own a gun because we’re about to really take away all your rights and you’re not going to be able to defend yourself and we’re going to swoop down with special forces folks and gather up every gun in America,” the vice president said. “It’s bizarre, but that’s what’s being sold out there.”
Mr. Biden had breakfast Tuesday with family members whose children were killed in Newtown, Conn. He said the relatives cannot understand why some senators oppose gun control measures.
The vice president said one woman asked him, “How do they explain not doing anything? My little girl was hiding in the bathroom when she got shot through the heart.”
“They don’t understand. They really don’t understand … how we can even be at this point debating this,” Mr. Biden said of the family members. “They don’t see how 100 bright women and men [in the Senate] don’t get it.”
Mr. Biden added, “I promise you we are going to win this fight. This is not going away. This is not one of these votes if they block a vote that somehow we’re going to go away. The American public will not stand for it.”