Biden calls for tougher gun laws: “How many more massacres?”

Washington (AP) – “Enough is enough”, – exclaimed President Joe Biden again and again, speaking with a fervent address to …

Washington (AP) – “Enough is enough”, – exclaimed President Joe Biden again, speaking fervently to the nation to take action against gun violence after the mass shootings, which he said turned schools, supermarkets and others. everyday places in the “murder fields”.

If lawmakers fail to act, he warned, voters must use their “outrage” to make it a central issue in the November by-elections.

Speaking at the White House on Thursday night, Biden acknowledged a fierce political headwind as he sought to step up pressure on Congress to impose tougher gun restrictions after such efforts failed after past attacks.

He reiterated calls for a resumption of the ban on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – and said that if Congress does not accept all his proposals, he should at least find compromises such as keeping firearms away from those with mental health problems or aging. for the purchase of assault weapons from 18 to 21 years.

“How many more slaughterhouses are we ready to take?” Biden asked after a shooting last week by an 18-year-old gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uwald, Texas, and another attack on Wednesday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when a gunman shot dead four people and yourself in the medical office. “Don’t tell me that raising the age won’t change,” he said.

The latest shootings came shortly after the May 14 attack in Buffalo, New York, when a white 18-year-old man in military uniform and broadcasting live with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in an area of ​​predominantly black 10 people were killed and three others were wounded as a result of what authorities called “racially motivated violent extremism”.

“This time we need to find time to do something,” Biden said, calling on the Senate, which will need 10 Republican votes to pass the law.

For all Biden’s passion for appeal, and for all his great demands and smaller alternatives, any serious action by Congress is still a long way off.

“I know how hard it is, but I will never give up, and if Congress fails, I believe most of the American people will not give up this time either,” he added. “I believe most of you will act to turn your outrage and make this issue central to your vote.”

Adding a bright perspective to the deaths of young people, he noted that data from the Centers for Disease Control show that “weapons are the number one killer of children in the United States” before car accidents.

“Over the past two decades, more school-age children have been killed by guns than police and military duty officers combined,” he said.

Aware of the persistent criticism from gun advocates, Biden insisted that his call was not for “renouncing gun owners” or “taking away weapons from anyone.”

“We need to treat responsible gun owners as an example of how every gun owner should behave,” Biden said. “It’s not about depriving anyone of their rights, it’s about protecting children, it’s about protecting families.”

He called on Congress to end “outrageous” protections for gun manufacturers that severely limit their responsibility for how their firearms are used, comparing it to the tobacco industry, which has repeatedly faced lawsuits over the role of its products in causing cancer. and other diseases.

“Imagine if the tobacco industry were insured against suing where we would be today,” Biden said.

All major broadcasters have abandoned regular programs to broadcast Biden’s remarks at 7:30 p.m. on EDT, before the show begins in prime time.

Biden made serious speeches about the coronavirus pandemic and the chaotic withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. But for almost 18 months in office, the president has used such appeals sparingly, especially in the evenings.

Earlier on Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke of the shooting in Oklahoma, saying: “We all keep the people of Tulsa in our hearts, but we also reaffirm our commitment to making sensible gun security laws.”

“No more excuses. Thoughts and prayers are important, but not enough, ”Harris said. “We need Congress to act.”

Visiting Uwalde on Sunday, Biden privately mourned for more than three hours with suffering families. Faced with the chanting of “do something” as he left the church service, the president promised, “We will do it.” In his address, he said that a woman in Uwalde Church handed over a note mourning the loss of her grandson, and urged people to come together and act.

His speech Thursday night coincided with bipartisan talks intensifying among a core group of senators discussing modest changes in weapons policy. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said the group was “progressing rapidly,” and Biden spoke with Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy, one of the leaders of the Democrats’ efforts.

Democrats hope Biden’s remarks will encourage bipartisan Senate talks and increase pressure on Republicans to reach an agreement. White House spokeswoman Caryn Jean-Pierre said Biden was “encouraged” by the talks in Congress, but the president wanted to give lawmakers “some space” to continue talking.

Private debates in the 50-50 Senate between Democrats and Republicans are not expected to lead to large-scale reforms under the Democrats-led House of Representatives – which passed a law to scrutinize documents and then turn to a ban on assault weapons.

The package of the House of Representatives, discussed on Thursday – and approved by the committee, 25-19 years old – is less extensive, but includes a provision that raises the age required to purchase semi-automatic firearms to 21 years. The chances in the Senate still have little chance.

Instead, bipartisan senators are likely to come up with a more additional package that will increase federal funding to support state arms security efforts – with incentives to strengthen the security of schools and mental health resources. The package could also encourage “red flag laws” to keep firearms away from those who could cause harm.

Although the Senate approved a modest measure to encourage inspections following the mass shootings of a church in 2017 in Texas and one in Parkland, Florida, the following year no serious laws cleared the chamber after the devastating murder of 20 children in Sandy Hook Elementary School. in 2012.


Associated Press writer Lisa Mascara contributed.

Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or distributed.

Source link