President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to pass new gun control measures after mass shootings in the last week in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado.
In a short speech Tuesday afternoon, Biden said “we can save lives” by increasing background checks for gun purchases, banning assault weapons, and limiting the size of magazines. Speaking directly to the families of those killed in Atlanta last Tuesday and in Boulder on Monday, Biden said the US government must “act so there’s not more of you, there’s fewer of you, as time goes on.”
Biden praised Officer Eric Talley, who died responding to the shooting in Boulder.
“He thought he’d be coming home to his family and his seven children,” Biden said. “But when the moment to act came, Officer Talley did not hesitate in his duty, making the ultimate sacrifice in his effort to save lives. That’s the definition of an American hero.”
Biden said he had been briefed on Monday’s shooting and was in contact with local authorities, and he was still waiting to learn more about the suspect and possible motives. But, Biden said, he would not wait “to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future, and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act.”
Senate Democrats told BuzzFeed News after last week’s shooting in Atlanta that they were willing to start small on gun control if it meant getting something substantial passed for the first time in years. The majority of Republicans in the House and Senate have long been opposed to significant gun reforms, and the last major attempt at bipartisan compromise in the Senate failed in 2013.
The House recently passed two bills that would strengthen background checks, which Biden on Tuesday called on the Senate to pass. It’s uncertain if either of those bills will be brought to a vote, where they would likely need 60 votes to make it to Biden’s desk.