President Joe Biden gave a speech addressing the recent mass shootings in the U.S. on Thursday evening, calling for a ban of assault weapons, expansion of background checks and the approval of “red flag” laws, which would let authorities take guns from people at high risk of harming themselves or others.
Just days after visiting Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School by an 18-year-old gunman on May 24, Biden pleaded with Congress to pass gun legislation.
“This isn’t about taking away anyone’s rights,” he stated. “It’s about protecting children. It’s about protecting families. It’s about protecting whole communities. It’s about protecting our freedoms to go to school, to a grocery store, to a church, without being shot and killed.”
Biden continued, saying that according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, guns are the No. 1 killer of children in the United States.
“Think about that. More kids than on-duty cops killed by guns. More kids than soldiers killed by guns. For God’s sake. 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.
The House of Representatives has already passed key measures for expanding background checks and getting rid of loopholes on gun sales. And they plan to add safe storage requirements and raise the age to buy an assault weapon to 21, among other efforts. But, in order to get anything done in the Senate, a minimum of 10 Republican senators need to support gun legislation — and right now that seems impossible with GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell in power.
“I support the bipartisan efforts that include a small group of Democrats and Republican senators trying to find a way. But my God. 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 during his speech, adding, “We can’t fail the American people again.”
There have been 20 other mass shootings in America since the Uvalde tragedy happened a week ago, Biden noted. As the families who recently lost young children and loved ones to gun violence attend funeral services, more senseless acts take place — and Biden, as well as a majority of Americans who want gun control, who have had enough.
“It’s time for each of us to do our part. It’s time to act,” the president concluded. “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.”