Vice President brings gun control mission to Richmond

Posted at 5:55 PM, Jan 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-25 17:55:20-05

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - Top government officials put their heads together to address the issue of gun control and Vice President Joe Biden led the meeting. 

The roundtable discussion held on the campus of VCU drew the ire of a few protesters who held signs. They came to the discussion with the thought they'd get a chance to speak.

"The Second Amendment is very clear. The rights of the people shall not be infringed upon. Armed is equal," Chad Billings chanted.

Billings was one of the few protesters who held signs during Friday's event, hoping to catch the attention of Vice President Biden and others.

The meeting included Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius,  Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Deputy U.S. Attorney General Jim Cole. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott were also in attendance.

A few of the local leaders from the Virginia Panel included, Dr. Michael Rao, VCU President, David Hicks who's representing the City of Richmond, John Venuti, VCU Police Chief and Chief John Dixon from the Petersburg Police Department.

The event was closed to the public and the media was only allowed in for a short time.

The Vice President has been charged by President Obama to create proposals to curb gun violence in the wake of the Connecticut shootings.

The President is asking Congress to close background check loopholes and ban military style assault weapons among other things. Two of the issues that dominated much of the conversation included mental health and universal background checks.

Senator Kaine said the better the background check, the safer things would be. He explained that the universal checks would be a key component in addressing gun violence.

Former Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney David Hick spoke to the challenges that are ahead. He said he recognizes that the partisan aspect of this controversial debate will be a challenge.

"The partisan aspect of it to me is a distraction. At the end of the day it's about saving lives and making sure Americans live the highest quality lives they can live. It's not Republican, it's not Democrat. It's about saving lives" Hicks explained.

Senator Kaine told reporters that in Washington, in the past few days there have been several pieces of gun control legislation with bipartisan support presented.

"We may not be able to agree on everything, but I'm learning in Washington that just because we can't agree on everything doesn't mean we can't agree on anything" Kaine explained.