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Public Statements

Remarks by the Vice President at a Meeting With Law Enforcement Leaders

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Location: Unknown

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Let me start by thanking -- I look around this table, and I've worked with -- excluding the Cabinet and administration officials, I've worked some of you for a long, long time. All the police organizations represented here have been my friends and allies for over 35 years.

And the President asked me to convene this meeting with you, and we'll be talking to other stakeholders as well because we have to have a comprehensive way in which to respond to the mass murder of our children that we saw in Connecticut, but that's not the only --

I want to talk to you all about -- in the way we've always talked in the past. We sat down. We were writing the crime bill years ago, and everybody thought that was a -- just an exercise to reach out and pretend we cared about what you thought -- you, the police organizations, were the organizations that came forward and not only dealt with the punishment-incarceration side of it, you were the ones who came up with the ideas about community policing. You came up with the ideas about reaching out, having drug courts. You were the -- you know better than anyone what is needed out there. And what I think the public has learned about you is you have a much more holistic view of how to deal with violence on our streets and in our country that you're ever given credit for.

I know you all. I know you well. And so you're the first group with whom, when the President gave me this charge, along with some of our Cabinet colleagues here, you're the first group that I wanted to speak with.

So what I'd like to do is -- 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. And there are a number of things you know because I've spoken with you all for so many years and continue to have a relationship over the past four years that there are some things we can immediately do.

And we're going to need your help. We see no reason why the assault weapons ban, quite frankly, you guys helped me write in the original crime bill. It passed the Senate then didn't get past the House. And then we went back at it again with Dianne Feinstein's leadership, she convinced people to put it back in the bill. We've worked on everything from cop-killer bullets to the type of weapons that should be off the street and a whole lot else. So 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. We're going to need your advocacy with law enforcement organizations in this country.

And so with that, I'd like to disinvite the press out of the room. (Laughter.) We're going to have a frank discussion, and as these women and men in uniform around this table know, we are never not frank with one another. So I'm anxious to get to a discussion.


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