Joe Biden on Tuesday called for a ban on assault weapons and stricter rules on background checks on gun purchases, a day after 10 people were shot dead at a supermarket in Boulder, in Colorado.
The mass shooting in Colorado came just a week after a 21-year-old man was accused of shooting and killing. eight people at massage parlors and spas in the Atlanta area. Six of the Atlanta victims were Asian Americans, and their murders have rekindled concerns about a jump into hate crimes against Asian Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his first major gun safety remarks since becoming president, Biden said on Tuesday he didn’t “need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common measures that will save lives in the future “.
“We can again ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines in this country,” said Biden, referring to the federal ban on assault weapons that was in place from 1994 to 2004 in the United States. .
“We should do it again,” he added. He said the Senate should “immediately pass” a law that was passed in the House of Representatives to “address the loopholes in the background check system.”
“This is not and should not be a partisan issue. It is an American problem. It will save lives, American lives, and we have to act, ”Biden added. “We should also ban assault weapons in the process.”
A national poll conducted by Morning Consult in the fall found that 66% of US voters said they ‘strongly agree’ that no gun sale should take place without verification history completed. Another 20 percent said they “somewhat agree”, while only 10 percent said they “somewhat disagree” or “strongly disagree”.
Earlier on Tuesday, former President Barack Obama said it was “high time those with the power to fight this epidemic of gun violence did.”
“A once-in-a-century pandemic cannot be the only thing slowing mass shootings in this country,” Obama said. “We shouldn’t have to choose between one type of tragedy and another.”
The number of mass shootings in the United States fell sharply last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, with many cities and states imposing stay-at-home orders and banning large public gatherings. But gun sales skyrockets in 2020, following the protests against the murder of George Floyd and in the run-up to the November presidential election.
Gun safety activists said the recent spate of shootings in Atlanta and Colorado underscores the need to reform federal gun laws in America, where the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enshrines the law of individuals to “keep and bear arms”.
Any proposed gun safety bill is likely to pass the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Democrats, but faces an uphill battle in the Senate, which is evenly divided, 50-50, between Democrats and Republicans, with Kamala Harris, the vice president, able to vote for a tiebreaker.
Under the filibuster rules, any gun control law would have to pass a threshold of 60 votes – including support from at least 10 Republicans – to be debated.
Joe Manchin, the most conservative Senate Democrat, said on Tuesday he opposed the House gun safety bills cited by Biden and would only support background checks for sales commercial firearms – not private ones.
“I come from a gun culture, and I’m a law-abiding gun owner who would do the right thing, you have to assume we’ll do the right thing,” said Manchin, who represents Virginia -Western. “Business transactions should be subject to a background check. Commercial, you don’t know anyone. If I know a person, no.
Any ban on assault weapons risks meeting even more opposition in the Senate. Local media reported that the 21-year-old suspect in the Colorado shooting used an AR-15, a light semi-automatic rifle.
Chuck Grassley, a Republican senator from Iowa, said earlier Tuesday that he would oppose a ban on assault weapons, telling reporters: “The AR-15 is one of the most popular weapons in America, and not just for sports people, but also for people. this hunt.
John Kennedy, the Republican senator from Louisiana, accused the Democrats on Tuesday of wanting to “essentially get rid of the right to keep and bear arms to stop the killings”.
“A lot of people who are promoting greater gun control, if you really dig deep and probe what they really believe, they don’t believe in the Second Amendment,” he added.