Mar 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden demands Congress tighten gun laws in wake of Boulder, Atlanta shootings


Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Biden on Tuesday urged Congress to pass gun control legislation, including two House-approved bills to expand background checks, and renew bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Why it matters: They were some of Biden's most forceful comments on gun control since he was elected, and they came in the wake of a mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, on Monday and a series of shootings in Georgia last week.

What they're saying: "This is not and should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue," Biden said, noting that he had previously helped pass an assault weapons ban while serving in the Senate.

  • While cautioning that the facts of the Boulder shooting are still developing, the president said, "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."
  • "We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country, once again. ... It will save lives, American lives. And we have to act," he added.

The big picture: Ten people died in the Boulder shootings and eight died in Georgia. Both events prompted Biden to order flags lowered to half-staff and have renewed calls for tighter gun regulations in America.

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday hosted a hearing that addressed gun violence in America, with Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) calling gun violence a "public health crisis."
  • Republicans rebuked the notion, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) arguing, "Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders."

Reality check: Any gun control legislation, including the two background check bills passed by the House last week, would need 60 votes to pass in the 50-50 Senate. Biden did not make reference to eliminating the filibuster, which progressives have called on Senate Democrats to do.

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