‘How many more innocent lives…:’ Biden urges assault weapons ban
Washington, June 2 (EFE).- United States President Joe Biden Thursday made an earnest appeal to lawmakers to pass stricter gun limits after mass shootings killed more than 30 at a New York supermarket and a Texas elementary school last month.
He sought a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines and tightening background checks to prevent gun violence in the US.
“Over the last two decades, more school-age children have died from guns than on-duty police officers and active duty military — combined,” said Biden in an impassioned speech to the nation.
He urged the US Congress to act “now” against gun violence as mass shootings had turned schools and other places into “killing fields” in America.
“We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. And if we cannot ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21, and strengthen the background checks.”
In a 20-minute speech, he implored Congress to “do the least” by passing the gun safety measures lawmakers have failed to pass in the past year.
“How much more carnage are we willing to accept? How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say: Enough. Enough.”
Biden said he knew “we cannot prevent a tragedy.”
“But here is what I believe we have to do. Here is what the overwhelming majority of the American people believe we must do,” he said, repeating the call for gun reforms.
“After Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Charleston, after Orlando, after Las Vegas, after Parkland, nothing has been done,” the president said, recalling the mass shootings that hit the country in recent years.
“This time that cannot be true. This time, we must actually do something.”
Biden addressed the nation a day after a mass shooting in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killed four and nine days after a massacre in Uvalde, Texas, left 19 elementary school children and two teachers dead.
Earlier, a gunman killed ten people in a grocery store in Buffalo.
Standing at the end of a red carpet and an aisle lit with 56 candles for the mass shooting victims, Biden insisted that the second amendment on the right to possess weapons “is not absolute.”
“It is about protecting children. It is about protecting families. It is about protecting whole communities. It is about protecting our freedom to go to school, to a grocery store, to a church without being shot and killed.”
The emotional remarks coincide with a bipartisan group of nine senators forming the outlines of gun legislation that may receive the support of both the Democrats and the Republicans.
The measures are far more modest than the assault weapons ban advocated by most Democrats, including Biden.
The bipartisan proposal focuses on beefing up school security and funding mental health programs – the two Republican demands.
They will also seek to expand background checks to purchase firearms and give states incentives to pass laws allowing authorities to seize weapons from the individuals considered dangerous.
The Judicial Committee of the House of Representatives is to debate a series of arms control measures on Thursday.