Biden says Chicago vote a sign that voters want action on guns

WASHINGTON Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:41pm EST

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (C), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L), Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX) and others arrive in the House chamber prior to President Obama's State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 12, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Dharapak/Pool

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (C), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (L), Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX) and others arrive in the House chamber prior to President Obama's State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 12, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Charles Dharapak/Pool

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gun control supporter's victory in a Chicago Democratic congressional primary election is a sign that voters want tougher gun laws and are turning against the powerful gun lobby, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday.

Robin Kelly, a former Illinois state representative, won the election Tuesday to run for the U.S. House seat of former Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.

It was the first U.S. electoral test since gun control rose to the top of the political agenda after a gunman killed 26 people at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

"For the first time since Newtown, voters sent a clear unequivocal signal," Biden told a group of state attorney generals, who were meeting in Washington.

Kelly beat Debbie Halvorson, a former congresswoman who was rated highly by the National Rifle Association, a prominent gun-rights group. Halvorson opposed a U.S. ban on military-style assault weapons.

"The voters sent a message last night, not just to the NRA, but to the politicians all around the country. There will be a moral price as well as a political price to be paid for inaction," Biden said.

Biden made his comments on a day when the Senate Judiciary Committee was holding a hearing on reviving a 1994 ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004, one of several measures he and Obama recommended lawmakers pursue.

Democrats in the Senate have split the proposals into four bills in an effort to get at least some of the less controversial measures - such as expanded background checks for gun buyers - passed into law.

The split is an implicit acknowledgement by Democrats that a ban on military-style "assault" weapons is unlikely to clear Congress.

Biden devoted very little time in his 45-minute speech to the proposed ban, spending more time discussing less-controversial measures such as improved background checks for people who want to buy guns, and an increase in mental health research and services.

(Editing by Alistair Bell and Cynthia Osterman)

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Comments (8)
Robertbill wrote:
Well, a vote in Chicago shows what organized crime wants, but has nothing to do with what normal voters want.

Feb 27, 2013 1:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
moonhill wrote:
Ah yes, Chicago, the city with the toughest gun control laws in the country and the city with the highest murder rate. Why wouldn’t we all want to be like Chicago?

Feb 27, 2013 2:02pm EST  --  Report as abuse
davespc22 wrote:
As an Illinois Citizen, I can assure you that the rest of IL does not agree with the: Capital of Crime – Chicago!!!

Feb 27, 2013 2:52pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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