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January 26, 2023
“Enough, enough,” President Joe Biden repeated as he delivered a speech to the nation uring Congress to take action against gun violence after mass shootings he said had turned schools, supermarkets and other everyday places into “killing fields.”
If legislators fail to act, Biden said voters should use their “outrage” to turn it into a central issue in November’s midterm elections.
Biden repeated calls to restore a ban on the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, and said if Congress won’t embrace all of his proposals, it must at least find compromises like keeping firearms from those with mental health issues or raising the age to buy assault-style weapons from 18 to 21.
“How much more carnage are we willing to accept?” Biden asked after last week’s shootings by an 18-year-old gunman, who killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and another attack Wednesday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a gunman shot and killed four people and himself at a medical office. “Don’t tell me raising the age won’t make a difference,” he said.
“This time we have to take the time to do something,” Biden said, calling out the Senate, where 10 Republican votes would be needed to pass legislation.
“I know how hard it is, but I’ll never give up, and if Congress fails, I believe this time a majority of the American people won’t give up either,” he added. “I believe the majority of you will act to turn your outrage into making this issue central to your vote.”
Biden noted that Centers for Disease Control data shows “guns are the number one killer of children in the United States of America,” ahead of car crashes. “Over the last two decades, more school-age children have died from guns than on-duty police officers and active-duty military — combined,” he said.
Aware of persistent criticism from gun-rights advocates, Biden insisted his appeal wasn’t about “vilifying gun owners” or “taking away anybody’s guns.”
“We should be treating responsible gun owners as an example of how every gun owner should behave,” Biden said. “This isn’t about taking away anyone’s rights, it’s about protecting children, it’s about protecting families.”
He called on Congress to end “outrageous” protections for gun manufacturers, which limits their liability over how their firearms are used, comparing it to the tobacco industry, which has faced repeated litigation over its products’ role in causing cancer and other diseases. “Imagine if the tobacco industry had been immune from being sued, where we’d be today,” Biden said.
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.”
“No more excuses. Thoughts and prayers are important, but not enough,” Harris said. “We need Congress to act.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CNN