In a major speech Thursday evening, President Joe Biden called on assault weapons to be banned following the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.
“We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” Biden said in his speech where he also supported strengthening background checks, safe storage laws and red-flag laws, and raising the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon to 21.
“Repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability,” Biden said. “Address the mental health crisis deepening the trauma of gun violence and as a consequence of that violence.”
Biden said he recently visited Uvalde and stood before 21 crosses for 19 children and two teachers that were killed in the massacre. Two weeks before, he stood at another memorial for those shot and killed at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.
“After Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Charleston, after Orlando, after Las Vegas, after Parkland, nothing has been done,” Biden said. “This time, that can’t be true. This time, we must actually do something.”
The president said the Second Amendment is not absolute and has always come with limitations on what weapons you can own, like machine guns.
“This isn’t about taking away anyone’s rights. It’s about protecting children. It’s about protecting families,” Biden said.
Those comments about the Second Amendment caused Sen. Ted Cruz to make a visit to Fox News where he accused the president of “hard-Left divisive politics.”
Biden also called for the return of the assault weapons ban and ban on high-capacity magazines that passed in 1994 in Congress with bipartisan support.
“And in the 10 years it was law, mass shootings went down,” Biden said. “But after Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled. Those are the facts.”
Biden’s speech detailed how in the Fort Hood shooting in Texas in 2009 and the 2018 shooting Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, could have been prevented with red-flag laws, or laws that allow authorities to remove the firearm of a person they believe is a danger to themselves or others.
Biden said he would need a minimum of 10 Republican senators to get anything done, something he said he knew would be difficult.
“The fact that the majority of the Senate Republicans don’t want any of these proposals even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable,” Biden said.
According to the president, there have been 20 other mass shootings in America since Uvalde.
“My fellow Americans, enough. Enough,” Biden said concluding his speech. “It’s time for each of us to do our part. It’s time to act. For the children we’ve lost, for the children we can save, for the nation we love, let’s hear the call and the cry. Let’s meet the moment. Let us finally do something.”
According to Chris Murphy, the Connecticut Senator who leads the gun violence debate among Senate Democrats, bipartisan Senators are meeting to continue negotiations on a gun violence bill. A similar meeting that included Sen. John Cornyn also took place on Tuesday. In an interview with POLITICO, Cornyn said it would be embarrassing if the Senate could not agree on a legislative response.
“I’m not talking about restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens under the Second Amendment,” Cornyn said in the interview. “I’m talking about identifying people with criminal and mental health problems that are a threat to themselves and others.”
Original photo: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org