Joe Biden called on Congress to “finally do something” to tighten U.S. gun laws, such as banning assault weapons or raising the age at which they can be purchased, to prevent “ordinary places” in the country from becoming “fields of death.” .
Biden he spoke from the White House Thursday night in a rare address in prime time after postponing an earlier planned trip to his Delaware beach house for several hours.
His appeal followed three deadly high-profile shootings across the United States in recent weeks, in supermarket in Buffalo, New York, an Uvalde Elementary School, Texas, and a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, earlier this week.
“Let’s hear the call and the cry. Let’s meet for a moment. “Let’s finally do something,” Biden said.
Although the chances of any legislative compromise to tighten gun laws in the US are slim huge Republican oppositiona small group of senators, including Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut, and John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, are holding talks to see if there is a possibility of opening up to a deal.
Biden hopes to put pressure on Congress to reach an agreement by pointing out how popular he is weapon control measures are, in particular, modest steps, such as imposing requests for background checks.
The president specifically called for the re-establishment of the ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which was introduced in 1994 under Bill Clinton and which was allowed to expire a decade later during the George W. Bush presidency. Many of the recent mass shootings have involved the use of such firearms.
Alluding to the fact that this could be a step too far for Congress, Biden suggested that lawmakers alternatively consider raising the age limit for buying those weapons from 18 to 21.
He said: “Don’t tell me that increasing the age will not make a difference. Enough! ”
The president also called for other measures to tighten control over the purchase and possession of weapons, including stricter rules on how to keep firearms and “red flag” laws to identify individuals who show violent tendencies and may endanger the community. He also called for the lifting of the immunity of weapons manufacturers from liability for a wide range of behavior.
Biden pointed to the possibility that stricter gun laws could be difficult to pass through Congress, and suggested the issue could mobilize voters in the November midterm elections, where Democrats face a tough struggle to maintain their small majority.
“I have been in this fight for a long time. I know how hard it is when I will never give up. “If Congress fails, I believe that most Americans will not give up this time,” Biden said. “I believe that most of you will act to turn your anger into making this issue central to your vote.”
Biden said he respected the “culture and tradition” of “legitimate gun owners”, but stressed that the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which guarantees the right to bear arms, was not “absolute”. He even quoted the words of the late conservative Supreme Court judge Antonina Scalia that it is not “unlimited”.
“It’s not about taking away someone’s rights,” Biden said. “It’s about protecting children, protecting families, protecting entire communities, protecting our freedom to go to school, to shop, to church, and not to be killed and killed.”