On Thursday night, President Biden set out his gun-control agenda, stating that the policies he proposed should unite the country.
The larger picture: Biden urged Congress to reinstate the assault weapons prohibition, which was enacted in 1994 but expired in 2004 under President George W. Bush. Biden also suggested expanding background checks, raising the age limit for buying semi-automatic firearms, and enacting red-flag regulations.
- Biden added banning certain semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines.
Other recommendations from Biden included:
- Raising the purchasing age for semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 years old.
- Strengthen background checks.
- Enact safe storage and red-flag laws.
- Repeal immunity for gun manufacturers.
As per Axios, Biden called on Congress to take action on gun control following a number of mass shootings in recent weeks.
- A gunman opened fire at a hospital building in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing at least four people. According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, this was the 233rd mass shooting in the United States for 2022.
- Last week, a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killed 19 children and two teachers, as well as injured at least 17 others.
- A gunman opened fire in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, killing ten people. The alleged gunman was later charged with 25 counts, including domestic terrorism motivated by hatred, to which he pleaded not guilty.
Between the lines: Biden admitted that the attempt might stall in the Senate, where Republicans are normally united in their opposition to gun legislation — and Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have declared they will not support removing the filibuster in order to get a majority vote.
- Biden said Americans should make it central to their midterm votes if Congress fails to act.
Flashback: Biden stated after the Uvalde shooting that “rational Republicans” could act on some gun control.
- “I think things have gotten so bad that everybody is getting more rational about it,” Biden said. “At least that’s my hope.”
- “I know I have responsibility. I can do the things I’ve done,” he said but noted the Constitution gives only Congress the power to change the laws. “I can’t outlaw a weapon. I can’t change the background checks.”
In the wake of the shootings, Republican officials have spoken out on what can be done.
- Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, told CNN that he spoke with Texas Senator John Cornyn and requested him to talk to Democrats about reaching a compromise on gun control legislation.
- Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) said he’s willing to talk about raising the age limit for purchasing “AR-15-style weapons.”
- Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) has stated that he is open to a federal ban on AR-15-style rifles.
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) asked state lawmakers to identify ways to “prevent future school shootings,” but gun control was not mentioned among the areas of focus.