President Biden on Thursday called Republican opposition to even debating various proposals to strengthen gun laws “unconscionable” and predicted the GOP would pay a price at the ballot box if Congress fails to pass legislation after a string of mass shootings.
“This time, we have to take the time to do something. This time, it’s time for the Senate to do something. But as we know, in order to get anything done in the Senate, we need a minimum of 10 Republican senators,” Biden said in a primetime address from the White House laying out his proposals to curb gun violence and urging Congress to act.
“I support the bipartisan efforts that includes a small group of Democrats and Republican senators trying to find a way,” Biden continued. “But my god, the fact that the majority of Senate Republicans don’t want any of these proposals even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable.”
Biden’s speech came a day after a gunman killed four people at a Tulsa, Okla., medical building; nine days after 21 people, including 19 children, were slaughtered in a shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school; and 19 days after a gunman killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y.
The president urged lawmakers to reauthorize an assault weapons ban or at minimum raise the age requirement to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21. He also called on Congress to strengthen background checks, repeal liability immunity for gun manufacturers and enact red flag legislation, which would allow authorities to take weapons away from those who may pose a threat to themselves or others.
While the House has passed expanded background checks and will vote next week on red flag legislation, those bills face an uphill fight to pass the Senate, which is divided evenly between Republicans and Democrats. Any legislation would need 60 votes to overcome the legislative filibuster.
A small bipartisan group of senators have held discussions focused on red flag legislation in the wake of the Uvalde shooting, but previous negotiations on gun laws have fizzled after other tragedies.
Biden suggested inaction following the latest string of mass shootings would lead to repercussions for lawmakers come Election Day.
“I’ve been in this fight for a long time. I know how hard it is. But I’ll never give up,” Biden said. “And if Congress fails, I believe this time a majority of the American public won’t give up either. I believe the majority of you will act to turn your outrage into making this issue central to your vote.”
Source: The Hill