Kentland Community Center

Landover, Maryland

12:48 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Can we give it up for Angela Alsobrooks?  (Applause.)  The next United States senator from the great state of Maryland 

Good afternoon, Maryland.  Good afternoon to everyone.  Good afternoon.

I am so proud to stand on this stage in support of Angela Alsobrooks.  I cannot tell you how proud I am.  And I want to thank her for her leadership and friendship.  I have — as Angela said, we’ve known each other for quite some time — maybe before some people were — were born.  (Laughter.)

And I will tell you something about her, which I think Maryland knows: She is a leader with deep conviction and compassion.  She is a leader who always stands up for her principles and for the people of Maryland.  And she is a fighter for our most fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of a woman to make decisions about her own body and not have her government — (applause) — tell her what she’s supposed to do.

And when we win majorities in the United States Congress in November, Angela’s vote will help President Biden and me restore Roe v. Wade — (applause) — and reproductive freedom for millions of Americans. 

And as she knows, I was so proud to support her when she was state’s attorney and to endorse her when she was county executive.  And then, today, I then proudly endorse — (applause) — Angela Alsobrooks for the United States Senate.

And I want to thank all of the other extraordinary leaders who are here today, including, of course, Senator Chris Van Hollen.  We were classmates together when I went to the United States Senate.  (Applause.)

 Congressman Glenn Ivey, he and I knew each other back in the day as prosecutors.  (Applause.) 

And, of course, the great governor, Wes Moore.  (Applause.)

And today, on Gun Vi- — Violence Awareness Day, a special thank you to all the organizers, the advocates, the leaders who are here who have fought forever to keep our communities safe. 

I believe the right to be safe is a civil right.  The people of our country have the right to live, work, worship, and learn without fear of violence, including gun violence.  (Applause.)

And yet, today, in America, one in five people has a family member that was killed by gun violence — one in five.  Today, as Angela mentioned, gun violence is the number one cause of death of the children of America.  Think about that.  Not a car accident, not cancer — gun violence.

Last year, I convened over 15,000 young leaders on my national college tour.  And at the stop, every time, I would ask the students, “Raise your hand if at any point between kindergarten and 12th grade you had to endure an active shooter drill.”  I’d ask the young people who are here today: Raise your hand. 

I’d ask the older adults and the press to see this.  It’s bone-chilling to think about what our young people have been going through in terms of the fear that they face sitting in a classroom.

And, you know, in fact, I spoke to a younger student years ago and I — and we were on this subject, and — and — and the student said to me, “Yeah, you know, that’s — that’s why I don’t like going to fifth period.”  And I said, “Why, sweetheart?”  And then he said, “Well, because in that classroom, there’s no closet to hide in.”

Over the years, I’ve met with far too many parents who say a silent and sometimes out loud prayer every time they drop their child off at school or walk them to the school bus stop.  And I’ve held the hands of far too many mothers and fathers to try and comfort them after their child was killed by gun violence — be it a mass shooting or what we call “everyday” gun violence.

So, let us all agree: It does not have to be this way.  It does not have to be this way.  And it is a false choice to suggest that you’re either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away.

I’m in favor of the Second Amendment, and we need an assault weapons ban.  (Applause.)  I support the Second Amendment, and we need universal background checks.  (Applause.)  I support the Second Amendment, and we need red flag laws.  (Applause.)

In 2020, President Joe Biden and I made a promise that we would finally take on the epidemic of gun violence, and we have.  As Vice President, I have the privilege of being with our President when the cameras are on and when the cameras are off, including being with him on a frequent basis in the Oval Office. 

Well, I’ll tell you about the day that we met with Democrats and Republicans to talk about gun safety.  And I’ll tell you about how Joe Biden sat in his chair in the Oval Office and looked with that bipartisan group of congressional leaders to appeal to their common humanity.  And he simply refused to take no for an answer.

And it is as a result that I am proud to report we passed the first major gun safety law in over 30 years.  (Applause.) 

And we have, then, finally strengthened background checks.  Because here’s what was happening.  So, before we took office, gun stores were required by law to conduct background checks.  But gun dealers who sold weapons outside of the traditional gun store, like at a gun show or a flea market or even online, did not conduct background checks.  We used to call this the “gun show loophole.”

It had been around so long that back in the olden days in 2007, when I was the elected District Attorney of San Francisco, I actually organized a rally in opposition to the gun show loophole.  And now, as Vice President, I am proud that we have finally closed it.  (Applause.)

We also have finally taken on the problem of domestic abusers having access to guns.  (Applause.)  Since taking office, our administration put a stop to the nearly 30,000 gun sales to convicted domestic abusers.  And as I have worked my entire career to protect women and children from domestic violence, Angela Alsobrooks has long been a leader on this issue as well.  She was the first assistant state’s attorney in Prince George’s County to specialize in domestic violence cases.  (Applause.) 

So, to be here to support her today is to know she will be an experienced leader — (applause) — on this issue when she is in the United States Senate.  And that matters.

I also lead the first-ever, as you have heard, White House Office on Gun Violence Prevention.  And through that office, we have made an historic investment to address the trauma of gun violence — in particular, the trauma associated with everyday gun violence, the often undiagnosed and untreated trauma.

We have now invested $1 billion to hire mental health counselors in public schools across our country.  (Applause.)  It’s the single-largest investment in student mental health in our nation’s history. 

So, Maryland, the — the fight that we are in to end the horror of gun violence presents one point that is clear about this November: that the choice in November is clear.  Whereas President Biden and I stood up to the NRA and the gun lobby, Donald Trump bowed down. 

After the horrors of El Paso and Dayton, the former President said he would take action, and then he folded.  He failed to stand up to the gun lobby, he opposed reasonable gun safety reforms, and he cut funding to gun violence prevention.

You know, Donald Trump often likes to say violent crime is up under our administration, while, in fact, violent crime is now near a 50-year low.  (Applause.)  Meanwhile, in part because of his failure to act on gun violence, during President Trump’s term, America saw the largest increase in the murder rate in modern history.  Know that.

And a second Trump term would be even worse.  If he were to win in November, you can bet that he will repeal our bipartisan gun safety law, reopen gun show loopholes, and veto any new gun safety laws.  Recall, on gun violence, Donald Trump offered a clear message for the people of America, and I quote — remember when he said this; I am quoting him — he said, “Get over it.”  He said, “Get over it.”

So, in this election, you have an opportunity, then, Maryland, to send Donald Trump a message back.  (Laughter.)  Maryland, this November, you have the power to elect leaders who have actually kept our communities safe.  You have the power to send Angela Alsobrooks to the United States Senate and help us win back the House as well.  (Applause.)

And with your voice and your vote, you have the power to reelect President Biden and me to the White House.  (Applause.) 

So, Maryland, are you ready to make your voices heard?  (Applause.)  Are you ready to fight for an assault weapons ban?  (Applause.)  Are you ready to fight for universal background checks and red flag laws?  (Applause.)  And are you ready to fight for your freedom to be safe from gun violence?  (Applause.)

And when we fight, we win.  (Applause.) 

May God bless you.  And may God bless the United States of America.  Thank you all very much.  (Applause.) 

                          END                      1:00 P.M. EDT

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