Biden also insisted the administration is “attempting to fully enforce the current criminal laws.”
But in a January meeting, Jim Baker, the NRA advocate, quizzed Biden about the lack of enforcement of laws penalizing would-be gun buyers who provide false information during mandatory background checks.
Biden responded, said Baker, by saying “we simply don’t have the time or manpower to prosecute everybody who lies on a form, that checks a wrong box, that answers a question inaccurately.”
In 2010, prosecutors pursued only 44 cases of falsification, even though 72,600 applicants were denied, according to a 2012 report to the Department of Justice by the Regional Justice Information Service.
During the Jan. 24 online event, Biden claimed the prevention of crime is the administration’s highest priority and touted the role played by mental-health professionals.
The administration is asking Congress to appropriate several tens of millions of dollars to fund more school psychiatrists and psychologists, he said. These experts, he said, can identify kids who may become dangerous.
The administration wants Congress to provide enough money for 1,000 mental-health workers or “School Resource Officers,” who can carry guns in schools, he said.
However, he reassured one questioner — a school psychiatrist — that “we’re not calling for armed guards in school.”
“We think it would be a terrible mistake … [and] we think the last thing we need to be doing is arming teachers and administrators,” Biden claimed.
Polls show high public support for armed guards in schools.
Throughout the Jan. 24 event, Biden presented himself as a reasonable compromiser, eager to find common ground with rival parties.
“Both left and right sometimes take absolutist positions, but the vast majority of the American people agree on basic, basic principles relating to public safety and gun safety,” he said, adding “I met with the NRA, by the way.”
Overall, “I don’t view it as gun control, but as gun safety,” Biden declared.