Vice President Meets with Video Game Industry

Uploaded by whitehouse on 11.01.2013

The Vice President: I just want you to know what we've been doing and then maybe
we can have a longer and larger conversation.
(multiple cameras clicking)
As a consequence of what I think we'd all agree is an incident
that sort of shocked the conscience of the American
people, unlike anything that I've seen or felt, and we've
been around a long time, you know, all the time I've been
in public life, there have been a number of tragedies that have
occurred and natural catastrophes, but I've never
quite seen anything that has shocked the consciousness of
the American people like six and seven-year-old kids being
riddled with bullets in a classroom, in a neighborhood,
in an area that was considered to be immune to this kind of
behavior and had done everything that seemed logical and able to
be done to protect the children in that school.
And so the President asked me, because I had spent so much time
on these issues relating particularly to guns and
violence in my years in the Senate, whether or not we would
-- and admittedly it's quick, in a matter of less than a month --
put together a set of proposals or direction that we could move
the federal government that would enhance the possibility
that or lessen the possibility this kind of thing could
happen again.
We know that it is -- there is no silver bullet.
There is no, as one of my friends said no seat belt
that you can put on to assure that you will not be in this
circumstance again.
But I asked the Cabinet to come together, the Attorney General,
Homeland Security, the Department of Education,
Health and Human Service, et cetera, because we know this
is a complex problem.
We know there is no single answer.
And quite frankly, we don't even know whether some of the things
people think impact on this actually impact on it or not.
And so I want you to know you have not been, quote, singled
out for help, but we've asked a whole lot of people.
I want to give you a sense of the meetings we've had so far.
We met with the law enforcement community which has obviously
one perspective.
And we met with -- and there is a wide range of those
communities and they don't always agree on anything from
weapons to preventative action that can be taken
for the violence.
We met with the medical community, a dozen or more
of the American Academy of Family Physicians, the AMA,
the American Academy of Neurology, et cetera,
more than a dozen leading institutions.
We've met with at risk groups, at risk youth and child advocacy
communities from the obvious one that everyone knows from Boys
and Girls Clubs, the YMCA, to the After School Alliance and
there is more than a dozen of those we met with.
Domestic violence prevention community, which I've done a
great deal of work on having authored the Violence Against
Women Act, and they have various views and suggestions.
Legal and justice organizations, from the ABA to other legal and
judicial organizations we've had in as well.
Civil rights organizations.
The civil, excuse me, participation and national
service organizations from the Kiwanis Club to the Rotary Club
and everything in between and beyond.
Youth groups.
Campus groups.
Peace groups, et cetera.
Gun safety advocates from the Brady group to all of the major
gun safety organizations in the country.
More than a dozen of them.
The educators and parents who are groping for answers.
The mental health community including the American Academy
of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, to NIH, we've been
through all of those groups.
Not an extensive study but just a meeting on literature that the
staff has been working and government wide to much of
what you already had, but some of which has been new
trying to devour.
And maybe the most interesting meeting we had was with an
interfaith group representing for the first time in all the
time I have been doing this, not only the traditional mainstream
Protestant churches and the Catholic Conference of Bishops,
but evangelical groups who generally have been reluctant
to engage in this because it's been viewed as maybe an attack
on cultural norms relating to rural communities and gun
ownership and the like.
But we've had, all of these groups have shown up including
the leaders of the Muslim community, the Hindu community,
et cetera.
And it was really a fascinating discussion, very enlightening, I
think there is a moral dimension to this, to state the obvious.
And then we met with sportsmen and rural groups which are
distinct from but not necessarily disagree with
the gun owner groups from the NRA and others but they have a
different perspective.
They include the Association of Fish and Wildlife, Blue Water
Strategies, the Outdoor Industry Association, et cetera.
Yesterday we met with the gun owners from, ranging groups from
the Defense of Small Arms Advisory Council headed by
a retired major general, to firearms and export roundtable
which that's their business, to independent firearms owners,
the NRA, et cetera.
And there is actually difference among them as well.
It's not a uniformed view.
And we also met with retailers because they're a part of this
potential solution in terms of background checks and the like.
All the box stores, the big five sporting goods operations and
who sell an awful lot of weapons.
And we met with your colleagues in Hollywood yesterday, the,
quote, entertainment industry, but you're entertainment as
well, but the entertainment industry as it relates to film
and broadcasting.
And we will be meeting with technology experts because to
overstate the case, there is a lot could change if,
for example, every gun purchased could only be fired by the
person who purchased it because it literally would be unable to
be fired.
That technology exists but it's extremely expensive.
But if that were available on every weapon sold, there is,
there is significant evidence that that would -- may very well
have curtailed what happened up in Connecticut because had the
young man not had access to his mother's arsenal, he may or may
not have been able to get a gun.
And then we're meeting with outfits involved in social
education and you and the video gaming industry.
And I come to this meeting with no judgment.
You all know the judgments other people have made.
And I think we had a very productive meeting yesterday
with the broadcast and film industry.
And they had some very constructive ideas as to
how they could help.
And so we're looking for help.
I understand two of you here are researchers in assessing the
impact, if any, on behavior, of certain behaviors and so we're
anxious to see if there is anything you can suggest to us
that you think would be -- would help, as this President has
said, diminish the possibility even if we only save one kid's
life as a consequence.
We have also spoken, by the way, at length with, you know, we
have a problem beyond, quote, the massacres, the Columbines,
through the Aurora's to Connecticut, you know,
there is ten thousand people a year gunned down in our cities.
Different motives, different reasons, different explanations.
But, you know, it's a real problem.
It's serious.
And one of the things that I know of no way to gather any
real empirical data on, and you all may, is I make an analogy to
when we first started dealing with the issue of crack cocaine,
Moynihan and I, back in the early '80s when it was coming --
from late '70s, early '80s from the Bahamas, actually, is when
it first hit.
And although I was senior, I was not equal to Daniel Patrick
Moynihan, who was a great mind.
And I'll never forget him standing up on the floor of the
Senate and holding up what was called then a photostatic copy
of a newspaper, front page of newspapers from I think it was
1937 or '8 where one of the mafia bosses was gunned down
in a barber chair and riddled with blood and just about
decapitated with machine gun and it made the front page of every
paper in America.
Then he held up, if I'm not mistaken, a New York Times and
he referenced a story and it happened, if I'm not mistaken,
it was in the Bronx where an entire family, grandmother,
mother, father, three, four children, aunt, uncle were
murdered execution style in their apartment.
And it made page 57 of the New York Times.
And we refer to it as the defining deviancy down.
And there is no measure that I'm aware of to be able to determine
whether or not there is a coarsening of our culture in
a way that is not healthy.
I don't know the answer to that question.
But and I'm not sure what impact it would have or wouldn't have
on the kind of events we're looking at.
But I wanted to tell you what we're about.
The end result of this is I am going to be making a
recommendation, not as a consequence of long, drawn out
hearings, which are useful, but because there is an awful lot of
research and material that's been lying around over the last
ten years in the various agencies from recommendations
on having a federal drug -- excuse me, a federal weapons
trafficking statute, to universal background checks,
to making more widely available mental health assistance.
And so I'm going to be submitting to the President
a proposal as to how to proceed.
I'm shooting for Tuesday.
I hope I get it done by then -- we get it done by then,
Cabinet Members.
And so I just wanted to fill you guys in on what
it is we're about.
And with that, I'd like to disinvite my friends
in the press -- (laughter)
(indistinct chatter)
Oh, I thought we had a very straightforward,
productive meeting.
The Press: What did you think about what they said about the
meeting Mr. Vice President?
The Vice President: I don't have any comment about what anybody said
about the meetings.
White House Staff Member: Thank you.
The Vice President: Thank you.