Vice President Joe Biden emphasized the need to pass more gun control Friday during a memorial service for former Reagan White House press secretary James Brady, one of the champions of the movement.
Vice President Joe Biden shares his memories of former White House press secretary James Brady during a memorial service, Oct. 10, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
“What we need is another Jim Brady who has the skill and the ability to convince those who are afraid to walk the halls of Congress to step up and do what they know is right,” Biden said. “One will come along. It will happen. I pray that it is sooner rather than later.”
Biden was the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman that helped push the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act through Congress in 1993. The law required a federal background check for gun buyers and a five-day waiting period at the time of passage.
Brady, who died in August at age 73, was disabled for life after being shot when John Hinckley tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981.
Biden was the point man in promoting an enhanced background checks bill in 2013, but the legislation was unable to even pass a Democratic-controlled Senate.
“It is my hope that we may all eventually, not in the too distant future, live up to the legacy and standard of Jim, and finally get done what he worked so very hard to do,” Biden said. “We have convinced the American people the last time out with a proposal I put forward through the president. The fight used to be: Can you convince the American people? Now 75 percent of the American people agree with us.”
The memorial service included speakers from reporters who covered the White House, former Reagan administration officials and former Clinton White House press secretary Joel Lockhart.
The gaffe-prone Biden opened up his remarks referencing a previous speaker’s comment about instant social media that wasn't around in the days when Brady was White House spokesman.
“My name is Joe Biden and I don't like Twitter either,” Biden said to laughter. “Oh, for the good old days.”
The vice president, also known for long speeches, ended his 15-minute remarks with a quip to Brady's family.
"Sarah, God bless you, dear. To the kids, take care of one another, as I know you will,” he said. “One thing is for sure, you know your father is looking down and wondering why the hell I talked so long.”