Biden: Newtown the 'straw that broke the camel's back' on gun control

Vice President Joe Biden joined Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) at a forum hosted by the McCain Institute in Arizona Friday, where the pair discussed the recently defeated gun control measure.

Biden told the crowd that last year’s massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., has changed American attitudes about guns, even though the Senate rejected legislation to expand background checks on gun purchases.

“Newtown was, to sort of use that old cliche, the straw that that broke the camel’s back,” Biden said, according to the Arizona Republic. “There was a fundamental change, in my opinion, in public attitudes about guns. It wasn’t marginal — it was real.”

Biden joined the Arizona senator for the McCain Institute’s Sedona Forum, the second annual gathering the think tank has hosted in Sedona, Ariz., since its creation last year.

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McCain and Biden are friends from the Senate, and Biden's lobbying has been partially credited with convincing McCain to cross party lines and back the Senate’s bill.

Speaking alongside McCain, Biden said that the public is looking for some way to respond to last year’s mass shooting, according to the Republic.

“I don’t think the American people knew exactly what to do, but that’s what they look to their leadership for,” Biden said. “They look to us and hope that we’re mature enough to figure out what is logical that we can do to diminish the prospect of it happening again.”

In addition to Biden, a host of current and former senators will be at the forum this weekend, which is centered on the topic, “How Can We Promote Freedom and Democracy Effectively?"

The attendees include Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), former Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), as well as former NBA star Dikembe Mutombo and Wal-Mart President and CEO Bill Simon.

The McCain Institute received a $9 million donation last year in leftover funds from McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. The institute, which is part of Arizona State University, focuses on national security and global affairs. 


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