President Biden urged Congress on Tuesday to ban assault weapons, high capacity magazines and expand background checks after a second mass shooting in one week, left ten people dead in Boulder, Colorado.
“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. “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 close loopholes in the background checks system by passing two House-passed bills that received bipartisan support in the House earlier this month.
H.R. 8 would expand background checks on individuals seeking to purchase or transfer firearms, and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 would close the “Charleston loophole,” a gap in federal law that lets gun sales proceed without a completed background check if three businesses days have passed, USA Today reports.
H.R. 1446, is linked to a shooting in 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, where a white supremacist used the loophole to obtain firearms he used to kill nine Black people during a Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church. The bill would extend the initial background check review period from three to 10 days.
“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.
“It’s absolutely tragic,” Vice-President Kamala Harris said about the shooting. “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.”
Their comments came one day after ten people were killed by a lone gunman carrying an assault rifle in Colorado at a grocery store and exactly one week after eight people were killed in Georgia. Both events prompted Biden to order flags lowered to half-staff and have renewed calls for tighter gun regulations.