Joe Biden Boston

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has a talent for boiling things down to feisty action items, criticized the "prostitution of the Second Amendment" by pro-gun activists in a talk at the University of Pennsylvania on Thursday.

 

"I think the Second Amendment is being badly interpreted, it's not consistent with what our founders intended," said Biden on the subject of gun control. "What's happened here is the nation as a whole has decided it can no longer, in my view, continue to turn a blind eye to the prostitution of the Second Amendment here and can no longer turn a blind eye to the enormous damage being done not just in our schools but on our streets."

 

Biden praised the high-school students of Parkland, Texas, who organized the March for Our Lives after a shooting at their school killed 17. "This was totally, thoroughly spontaneously on the part of the students, there was no adult inspiration for this. They insisted and that's why guys like me who led in the gun issue did not show up to speak, we wanted to make sure everybody knew this was a spontaneous, thoroughly spontaneous effort on the part of young people," said Biden of the rally in the nation's capital, which drew a crowd of 200,000 last weekend and inspired hundreds of similar demonstrations worldwide. Several speeches by the Parkland students, and other children who had lost loved ones to gun violence, went viral almost immediately.

 

The former vice president said he had given his phone number to at least 75 parents whose children were killed in gun violence. "I know what it's like to lose a child," he said, referring to his elder son, Beau Biden, who died of brain cancer three years ago.

 

Biden said that, after decades of political stagnation on gun control, the Parkland student activists have forced an "awful lot of elected officials" to "rip the bandaid off" in terms of confronting gun policy. "These millions of kids, they're impacting on their parents' sense of responsibility and you're going to see it in the polls," he said. "You're going to see it change, it's already a movement, it's real and I predict to you it's not going to stop."