Biden calls for assault weapon ban after Colorado shooting

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US President Joe Biden.
US President Joe Biden.
Mandel Ngan / AFP
  • US President Joe Biden called for the country to ban assault weapons saying a previous ban brought down mass killings when he was a senator.
  • A 21-year-old man was charged with the mass killing of 10 people in a grocery store in Colorado.
  • Biden said last month he wanted Congress to go further and pass laws that would require background checks on all gun sales.

President Joe Biden called on Tuesday for the United States to ban assault weapons, as he urged Congress to act on gun control in the wake of a deadly mass shooting in 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 in an address from the White House.

"We can ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines in this country once again," said Biden, recalling that Congress previously overcame its divisions to pass a 10-year ban on assault weapons back in 1994.

"I got that done when I was a senator. It passed," said Biden - who was chairperson of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time. "It was a law for the longest time. And it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again."

A 21-year-old man was charged Tuesday with gunning 10 people down in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado - less than a week after another gunman shot dead eight people at multiple spas in Atlanta - spurring urgent new calls for action on gun control.

Tighter gun control is overwhelmingly popular with Americans, and championed by Biden's Democrats, but Republicans have long stood against what a minority view as any infringement on their right to bear arms.

This month the House of Representatives passed two measures aimed at enhancing background checks and closing a loophole related to a deadly 2015 church shooting in Charleston.

The bills address a hugely popular premise among American voters: That background checks should be required for all US firearm sales, including those at gun shows.

"That's one of the best tools we have right now to prevent gun violence," Biden said of the legislation. "The Senate should immediately pass - let me say it again: The United States Senate, I hope some are listening - should immediately pass the two House-passed bills that close loopholes in the background check system."

Biden said last month he wanted Congress to go further and pass laws that would require background checks on all gun sales and ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

"This is not and should not be a partisan issue," he said. "This is an American issue. It will save lives. American lives. And we have to act."

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