Biden: ‘I’d Rather Have an Ex-Felon Have Access to a Weapon’ Than a ‘Fugitive’

By Penny Starr | March 12, 2013 | 5:03 PM EDT

Marie Lopez Rogers, president of the National League of Cities, jokes with Vice President Joe Biden at the NLC's conference on March 12, 2013 in Washington, D.C. ( Starr)

( – Vice President Joe Biden told city leaders in his pitch for new gun control laws on Tuesday that he would prefer an ex-felon over a fugitive have access to a weapon.

“The one person I don’t want to have a weapon is a fugitive from justice,” Biden said. “I rather have an ex-felon have access to a weapon than someone fleeing the justice system.”

Biden, speaking at the annual meeting for the National League of Cities in Washington, D.C., told attendees that he and President Barack Obama want Congress to pass a “universal background check” so that “every single gun sale must first go through a check to see if the buyer can legally have a gun.”

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“And by the way, some of you know in your states – we’ve gotten into this – there’s somewhere in the order of 2 million people who’ve been adjudicated in your home state as not being able to own a weapon, Biden said.

“Yet their names are not in the national information system that people have to check when they sell you a gun at a gun show,” Biden said.

“For example, a fugitive from justice can still buy a gun legally unless they cross a state line,” Biden said. “The one person I don’t want to have a weapon is a fugitive from justice.

“I rather have an ex-felon have access to a weapon than someone fleeing the justice system,” Biden said.

NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers wrote a letter to Biden following the Newtown, Conn., shooting last year where 26 people were killed at an elementary school.

"As you know, gun violence has become an all too common sight in our cities and towns," said Rogers. "Every day, as mayors and council members, we witness it in the eyes of family members who have lost a loved one to gun violence, in the tears of a spouse or child of a police officer who was gunned down while protecting his fellow citizens from harm, or in the pained soul of a community that has been turned upside down by an unspeakable act like the death of 20 innocent children.”

The letter said NLC supports the “registration of all handguns and licensing of all firearm owners,” increased funding for gun violence research, prevention programs and mental health services and the lifting of federal laws that “limit the federal government’s ability to share ‘trace data’ and other firearms with local governments.”

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