Vice President Joe Biden provided an extremely personal response late Thursday to the shooting at an Oregon community college that left 13 people reported dead.
Speaking at the Concordia Summit in New York City, Biden called for new gun measures while referencing his own recent losses and his wife’s status as a community-college teacher.
“As you all know, there are few things worse than getting that phone call saying your child is gone,” Biden said.
Biden’s son, former Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, died earlier this year of brain cancer. His first wife and then-one-year-old daughter were killed during a 1972 car crash.
Biden also referenced a conversation he had with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, about the need for safety in schools.
“She teaches at a community college and brings home every time something happens at school, and how the safest place in America should be our schools and our colleges,” Biden said.
Speaking around the same time as President Barack Obama was lamenting the seemingly constant flood of mass shootings in America, the vice president said the reverence for the Second Amendment didn’t need not apply to unnecessarily destructive weapons. He decried the fact that the US is “basically the only civilized country in the world where we have these massive murders.”
“The Second Amendment doesn’t say you can own a bazooka or an F-15,” Biden said, referencing the fighter jet.
Biden was the administration’s point person on negotiating a 2013 universal background-check bill. The legislation ultimately died in Congress about four months after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 20 children and six others.