Colorado Massacre: Biden Calls for Assault Weapons Ban
US President Biden on Tuesday called on Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and to close loopholes in the background check system after a gunman killed 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Biden said in remarks at the White House Tuesday afternoon following Monday’s shooting. “We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. … We should do it again.”
Biden called on the Senate to “immediately pass” two House-passed bills that would expand background checks for firearm sales, noting that both passed the Democrat-controlled House with some Republican support.
“This is not and should not be a partisan issue, this is an American issue. It will save lives, American lives, and we have to act,” Biden said.
Ten people, including a police officer, were shot and killed at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder on Monday. Authorities on Tuesday identified the suspect as 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa from Arvada, Colo. He has been charged with 10 counts of murder.
Biden noted that officials were still waiting for more information on the shooter, his motive, and the weapons he used. Various reports Tuesday indicated that the suspect used an AR-15 type of assault rifle to carry out the shooting.
The president said he was being regularly briefed by Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray and is in touch with state and local leaders in Colorado.
Biden thanked the “heroic” police and first responders and commended the “exceptional bravery” of Eric Talley, the police officer who lost his life responding to the shooting, while offering condolences to the families who lost loved ones.
“Those poor folks who died left behind families, that leaves a big hole in their hearts,” Biden said. “Those families who are mourning today because of gun violence in Colorado and Georgia and all across the country, we have to act so there’s not more of you, there’s fewer of you, as time goes on.”
Biden delivered the remarks before departing the White House to Columbus, Ohio, where he will highlight his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package and mark the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Biden ordered flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff before his departure.
Vice President Harris described the shooting as “absolutely tragic” in brief remarks to reporters at a swearing-in ceremony for CIA director William Burns Tuesday morning.
“It’s absolutely tragic,” Harris said when asked for her reaction to the violence. “Ten people going about their day, living their lives, not bothering anybody. A police officer who is performing his duties, and with great courage and heroism.”
The shooting took place less than a week after a gunman shot and killed eight people in a rampage at three massage parlors in the Atlanta area. The tragedies had already renewed calls for gun control legislation from Democrats and gun control advocates.
However, many Republicans remain opposed to gun control measures, meaning that passing a measure is expected to be difficult given the slim Democratic majority in the Senate.
“Prayer leaders have their important place in this, but we are Senate leaders. What are we doing?” Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said at the outset of a previously-scheduled hearing on reducing gun violence. “We won’t solve this crisis with prosecutions after funerals. We need prevention before shooting.”