President Joe Biden demanded Congress pass new gun control measures on the three-year anniversary of the Parkland school shooting.
“This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting” to pass new legislation, he announced in a statement. Biden called for universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and legal liability for gun manufacturers, all positions he pushed during his campaign. (RELATED: ‘It’s A Disaster’: Joe Biden’s Gun Plan Could Bankrupt The Firearms Industry, Advocates Say)
Biden invoked the memory of the 17 students who were killed on Feb. 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“For three years now, the Parkland families have spent birthdays and holidays without their loved ones … All across our nation, parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends have known the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence,” the statement read.
The pro-gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety hailed Biden’s statement, calling it “a fitting tribute to every gun violence survivor.”
A fitting tribute to every gun violence survivor who has, as @POTUS put it, “had to bury pieces of their soul deep within the Earth.”
We look forward to these vital measures being introduced & debated in Congress, starting with requiring background checks on all gun sales. https://t.co/d2S3Rxr0Ek
— Everytown (@Everytown) February 15, 2021
The National Rifle Association panned the proposal.
TODAY: President Biden issued statement calling on Congress to:
????Ban commonly owned firearms (AR-15s) and 10+ round mags
????Criminalize private firearm transfers
????Run firearm manufacturers & dealers out of business.
NRA will NEVER stop fighting for the 2nd Amendment!
— NRA (@NRA) February 14, 2021
As a senator, Biden played a key role in passing the 1994 assault weapons ban.
“In case after case of murderous rampages by disturbed and violent thugs, the ability of military-style assault weapons to kill and maim not just a few but eight or 10, 14, 35 people in just minutes has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt,” he said at the time, according to NPR.
During the Democratic primaries, Biden and then-rival Kamala Harris clashed on the gun control issue. After Harris said that she would pass gun control via executive order if she could not get congressional support, Biden implored her to “be constitutional.”
“I’d say, Joe, instead of saying, ‘No we can’t, let’s say, ‘Yes we can,'” Harris joked in response.