Biden calls for stricter gun laws a year after Texas school shooting

President Joe Biden on Wednesday urged Congress to pass stronger gun laws, including a ban on assault rifles, while commemorating the anniversary of the elementary school shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers exactly one year earlier in Uvalde, Texas.

“We still need to ban AR-15 firearms — assault weapons — once again,” Biden said at the White House. “We can’t end this epidemic until Congress has some common-sense gun safety laws that keep weapons of war off our streets.”

The president also called for the ban of high-capacity magazines, establishing universal background checks, national red flag laws and firearm storage requirements. Most “responsible” gun owners also support such measures to “save lives and keep our communities safe,” the president said.

“It’s time to act,” Biden added. “We will act.”

Addressing the killings at Robb Elementary on May 24, 2022, the third-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, the president called out firearm manufacturers. He labeled the industry “the only major corporate entity” that is legally shielded from mass deaths, and called for a law that would end such immunity.

Vice President Kamala Harris also called for more gun regulations on Wednesday. In a written statement, Harris acknowledged Congress’ past action for gun control but encouraged members of Congress and state legislatures “to meet this heartbreaking moment not just with words, but with action.”

Congress last year passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which is considered to be Congress’ most significant response to mass shootings in three decades. The law provides money to states looking to implement so-called red flag laws, which allow firearms to be temporarily taken away from individuals deemed threats to themselves and others.

No federal gun measure has moved in Congress since then. A full month after the bipartisan gun law passed both chambers, House Democrats voted in July to reinstate the assault rifle ban. The bill passed by a slim margin of four votes but soon stalled in the evenly divided Senate.

The Biden administration’s push for more stricter laws is already facing fierce opposition from GOP lawmakers. Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) submitted in recent weeks separate gun bills that would partially repeal the bipartisan law and ban state and federal gun registries.

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