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Biden Calls for Assault Weapons Ban, Gun Reform After Colorado Massacre

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 11: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks as he gives a primetime address to the nation from the East Room of the White House March 11, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden gave the address to mark the one-year anniversary of the shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Biden has called on Congress to act in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at a King Soopers store in Boulder, Colorado, where a man armed with an assault rifle killed 10 people and injured several others. Just last week, another mass shooter killed 8 people, including six women of Asian descent, in the Atlanta spa shootings. In his speech, Biden called for a nationwide ban on assault weapons, background check reforms and broad changes to magazine capacity restrictions.

In a statement from the White House, Biden said:

“While we’re still waiting on more information regarding the shooter, his motive, the weapons he used, the guns, the magazines, the modifications to those weapons that have apparently taken place here, I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take commonsense steps that will save lives in the future … We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again.”

Biden was referring to the previous assault weapons ban, which was part of the 1994 crime bill which then-senator Biden helped draft. As a direct result of the ban, gun massacres fell 37 percent. But when the ban expired in 2004, they rose by 183 percent.

Biden then urged the Senate to pass two House bills regarding gun control reform, which include a universal background checks bill measure and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. These reforms are popular with a majority of Americans. “The United States Senate ― I hope some are listening ― should immediately pass the two House bills that close loopholes in the background check system,” Biden said. “These are bills that received votes from both Democrats and Republicans in the House. This should not be a partisan issue.”

Biden is also looking at possible executive orders on gun reform, with press secretary Jen Psaki saying, “We are certainly considering a range of levers, including working through legislation, including executive actions to address, obviously, you know, not just gun safety measures but violence in communities, so that has been under discussion and will continue to be under discussion.”

Gun control and the assault weapons ban have wide bipartisan support, but efforts have long been stymied by the Republicans in power, and by Mitch McConnell especially. Now that Democrats have a brief window of controlling the White House, the House, and the Senate, they are poised to act on this critical legislation.

But of course gun reform, like so many agenda items, also depends on Democrats nuking or reforming the filibuster. And they have a lengthy list of policy proposals they want to get done before the midterms. Still, while the American Rescue Plan a done deal, it’s harder to imagine a more pressing agenda issue than gun control. Human lives are literally at stake.

(via CNN, featured image: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. She currently lives in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, son, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.