Updated Jul 11, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Mass shooting survivors join Biden in gun safety plea to Congress

President Biden hosted an event Monday marking the passage of the most significant federal gun legislation in nearly three decades and called on Congress to do more to reduce firearms violence.

Why it matters: There have been multiple mass shootings since Biden last month signed the gun safety bill that Congress swiftly passed in response to several recent shooting massacres, notably one at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school and another at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket.

  • Among more than a dozen mass shootings in the U.S. over the Fourth of July weekend was one at an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, which killed seven people.

The big picture: Joining Biden at the White House "commemorating the historic achievement of the passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act" were survivors and family members of victims of mass shootings that have rocked the U.S. since 1999.

  • Among them were those affected by the massacres at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Santa Fe, Uvalde, Buffalo and Highland Park — "as well as survivors and family members of daily acts of gun violence that don’t make national headlines," the White House noted.

Elected officials representing communities affected by gun violence across the country and gun safety advocates and experts were also at the event — as Biden pushed Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban, which was passed in 1994 and expired under President George W. Bush in 2004.

  • Biden also called for expanded background checks and safe storage laws that would require personal liability for those who don't safely store their firearms.

Biden mentioned the extensive training, background checks and mental health assessments for people in the military to handle such weapons.

  • "But we don't require the same commonsense measures for a stranger walking into a gun store to purchase an AR15 or some weapon like that. It makes no sense. Assault weapons need to be banned."

What they're saying: "We are living in a country awash in weapons of war," Biden said.

  • "With rights come responsibilities. Yes, there is a right to bear arms. But we also have a right to live freely without fear for our lives, in a grocery store, in a classroom, at a playground, at a house of worship, at a store, at a workplace, a nightclub, a festival, in our neighborhoods, in our streets," Biden said.
  • "The right to bear arms is not an absolute right that dominates all others."
  • "The price of living in a community with others is being neighbors, of being fellow citizens, is that we obey the laws and customs that ensure what the framers call 'domestic tranquility.' That's what civilization is."

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