President Joe Biden made a brief statement, Tuesday morning, addressing the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, and pledging to press forward with gun “reform” measures, including a ban on so-called “assault weapons” and a ban on “high capacity magazines.”
Speaking in the White House State Dining Room, Biden pledged to honor the ten people who died when a shooter opened fire at a King Soopers grocery store late Monday. Authorities released information on the shooter’s identity Tuesday morning but have yet to release information about a possible motive. Members of the shooter’s family told the media that the shooter suffered from a range of serious mental illnesses.
Biden and Democrats, however, have wasted little time in calling for gun reforms, pointing to what they call “common sense” gun control measures they believe will end or limit further mass shootings.
“After acknowledging there were still outstanding details to be learned about Monday’s massacre, including the shooter’s motive and weapons, Biden insisted enough was known to make an ardent call for new gun control,” CNN reported on the president’s short speech.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save lives in the future,” Biden said.
“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again,” he added. “I got that done when I was a senator. It passed, it was the law for the longest time and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again.”
“This is not — it should not be — a partisan issue. This is an American issue,” Biden continued. “It will save lives, American lives. We have to act.”
The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings, Tuesday, on the future of gun control legislation, in an effort to see whether a comprehensive gun reform package would succeed in Congress. In addition, the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), is set to consider a pair of gun reform measures, limiting who can buy a gun and addressing the “gun show loophole” that Democrats claim allows individuals to purchase weapons without licenses or background checks from certain sellers at certain events.
It appears Biden is slated to back the House’s measures, but it’s not clear whether there is a future for gun control in the narrowly Democratic Senate. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, who holds the success of most Democrat legislation in his hands, is not favorable towards gun control as an issue, and Democrats would likely need his vote to pass any new gun restrictions.
Historically, the Senate has rejected most background check expansions, voting down a “similar proposal in 2013 after a school shooter killed 20 elementary students and six staff members in Sandy Hook, Conn., in 2012.” Democrats passed a background check expansion under President Donald Trump, but that measure never came to a vote in the Senate, then controlled by Republican Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Regardless, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said Tuesday that he would press Senate Democrats to move forward with the House bills.
“The Senate is going to debate and address the epidemic of gun violence in this country,” Schumer said.