Biden Calls for 'Commonsense Measures' to Combat U.S. Gun Violence in Address to Nation

The president will make the remarks during a primetime address Thursday. His speech comes after a series of mass shootings in New York, Texas, and Oklahoma.

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Joe Biden urged lawmakers to act on gun control during a Thursday prime time address from the White House.

“President Biden delivers remarks on the recent tragic mass shootings, and the need for Congress to act to pass commonsense laws to combat the epidemic of gun violence that is taking lives,” his administration announced Thursday.

The speech comes after a series of mass shootings that renewed calls for tighter gun control measures. On May 14, an 18-year-old gunman opened fire in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, killing 10 people. Less than two weeks later, another 18-year-old gunman entered an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, where he ultimately shot and killed 19 children and two teachers. On Wednesday, a 45-year-old man opened fire in an Oklahoma hospital, killing four. Assault-style rifles were used in all of the attacks.

During the address, Biden called on Congress to reinstate a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. He said if lawmakers were unable to do so, they should instead strengthen background checks as well as raise the age to purchase those types of weapons. He said that during the 10 years the ban was in place, the nation experienced fewer mass killings; however, those attacks have “tripled” since “Republicans let the law expire in 2004.”

Biden went on to say that stricter gun laws will not erase Second Amendment rights, but is about protecting children, families, and communities, as well as “our freedom to go to school, to a grocery store, to a church—not be shot and killed.” 

“There are too many other schools, too many other day places that have become killing fields, battlefields here in America,” he said. “The issue we face is one of consciousness and common sense… I want to be very clear. This is not about taking away anyone’s guns. It’s not about vilifying gun owners.”

The president also reflected on some of the nation’s biggest mass shootings over years, including Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland. He said it is time for Senate to take action against gun violence, but noted they needed 10 Republican senators to back any proposed gun control effort.

“The fact that a majority of Senate Republicans don’t want any of these proposals even to be debated, or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable,” he added. “We can’t fail the American people again [...] It’s time for each of us to do our part. It’s time to act. For the children we’ve lost, the children we can save, for the nation we love. Let us finally do something. God bless the families who are hurting. God bless you all.”

You can watch Biden’s address via YouTube above.

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