'How Much More Carnage Are We Willing To Accept?' Biden Demands Strong Gun Laws
Biden suggested bringing back the 1994 ban on assault weapons which was effective in controlling mass shootings.
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Pleading lawmakers to initiate legislature against gun violence on Thursday, 3 June, United States President Joe Biden offered a solution to the multi-fold challenges around gun control in the US.
Calling for a ban of assault rifles like those used in the recent devastating mass shootings in Texas and New York, Biden suggested bringing back the 1994 ban on assault weapons which he claimed was effective in controlling shootings in the US.
Biden urged voters to use their "outrage" to make gun control a central issue during November's midterm election, if legislators fail to act.
"If the weapons can't be banned, then the legal age to bear arms should be increased from 18 to 21," Biden said.
'How much more carnage are we willing to accept?'
Following the school shooting at Robb Elementary by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and another attack on Wednesday, 1 June, in Tulsa, where a gunman shot and killed four people and himself at a medical office, Biden asked, "How much more carnage are we willing to accept?"
Biden said that at a minimum, lawmakers should raise the minimum age required to purchase assault weapons from 18 to 21, to help curb the violence which has turned schools and hospitals into "killing fields".
The President further noted that steps including stronger background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, holding manufacturers responsible for crimes committed with their product and compulsory safe storage, were paramount to curb gun violence plaguing the United States.
In the US Constitution, the Second Amendment, like all other rights is "not absolute" and added that his administration did not aim to "vilify gun owner" but rather to "encourage them to take "responsibility" for having a weapon.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” reads the Second Amendment.
More Children Dead From Guns Than Police and Active Military
Over the last two decades, more school-age children have died from guns than on duty police officers and active duty military combined. Think about that," the President said.
He also mentioned data from the Centre for Disease Control which shows "guns are the number one killer of children in the United States of America", ahead of car crashes and added that over the last two decades, more school-age children have died from guns than on duty police officers and active duty military combined.
"Imagine if the tobacco industry had been immune from being sued, where we'd be today," Biden said, further comparing gun manufacturers to the tobacco industry, who has faced continuous litigation over the role of tobacco products in causing cancer.
Calling on Congress to end the "outrageous" protection provided to gun manufacturers, Biden compared the limited liability these companies face over how these firearms are used.
A cross party-group of nine US Senators held discussions on Thursday, 2 June, discussing a package of firearm control regulations. The senators met to discuss responses to gruelling mass shootings, and seem optimistic over prospects of mild reforms.
Biden's address coincided with the bipartisan discussion which has intensified its discussions regarding modest changes to the gun policy. Republican Senator from Maine, Susan Collins said that the group is making "rapid progress," as quoted by CNN.
Biden has also spoken to Senator Chris Murphy from Connecticut, who leads the Democrats' efforts on the issue.
Similar to remarks made by Biden, the bipartisan group focussed on improving mental health, strengthening school security and incentivising granting courts authority to raise "red flags" and temporarily remove guns from owners who might be a threat.
Even though the Senate approved a mild measure improving compliance with background checks following the 2017 Texas church mass shooting and the Parkland mass shooting, the United States has seen no major legislation since the devastating Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in 2012 where 20 children lost their lives.
Earlier Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris spoke about the Oklahoma shooting, saying, "All of us hold the people of Tulsa in our hearts, but we also reaffirm our commitment to passing commonsense gun safety laws."
On Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris, at an event highlighting federal student loan cancellation, said, "All of us hold the people of Tulsa in our hearts, but we also reaffirm our commitment to passing common-sense gun safety laws," NPR reported.
"No more excuses. Thoughts and prayers are important, but not enough," the Vice President said. "We need Congress to act."
(With inputs from CNN and NPR)
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