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Biden says he will renew push for assault weapons ban after series of mass shootings

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Thursday he would redouble efforts to enact a ban on assault rifles following a spate of mass shootings that have once again brought national gun laws into the spotlight. fire.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to a fire station on Thanksgiving morning, the president reiterated his longstanding argument that these guns are a threat to society and should not be sold.

“The idea that we still allow the purchase of semi-automatic weapons is sick,” he said, saluting firefighters in Nantucket, Mass., where he and his family are spending the Thanksgiving holiday. “It has no, no redeeming social value. Zero. None. Not a single solitary justification for it except profit for the gun manufacturers.

Congress has been reluctant to ban AR-15s and other assault weapons. The Democratic-controlled House passed a ban in July, in a vote largely along party lines. But the bill is unlikely to advance to the Senate, where 10 Republicans are expected to join a unified Democratic caucus to break a filibuster.

Biden was asked if he could push for a ban during the lame session of Congress, when incumbent lawmakers who don’t face another election might feel freer to break away from grassroots voters and the lobby. well-funded firearms.

“I will try,” Biden said.

“I’m going to do it every time I…” he continued. “I have to make that assessment as I go in and start counting the votes.”

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Biden’s remarks came two days after officials said a night manager at a Walmart store in Virginia opened fire on his co-workers, killing six people and injuring at least half a dozen others. . The suspect, identified as André Bing, 31, apparently committed suicide. Authorities said he was armed with a handgun.

Mass shootings have taken place with frightening frequency. On Saturday, a gunman killed five people and injured 19 others at Club Q, an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Police said patrons may have avoided more deaths by confronting and disarming the suspect, identified by officials as 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich. The weapon used was in the style of a Colt AR-15, according to Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez.

President and first lady Jill Biden made a phone call to the owners of Club Q on Thursday, according to the White House. They told the two owners, Nic Grzecka and Matthew Haynes, that they were committed to fighting “hate and gun violence,” the White House said.

Biden has a long history with top-down efforts to ban the sale of assault-type weapons. As a senator from Delaware in 1994, he helped usher in an assault weapons ban that has been credited with reducing deaths from mass shootings. The ban expired 10 years later, under the administration of President George W. Bush, and has never been renewed.

Biden promised during his 2020 campaign to ban the sale and manufacture of assault weapons, and during a televised town hall event last month he reiterated that he would keep that pledge.

“By the way, I’m going to get an assault weapons ban,” the president told CNN. “Before it’s over, I’m going to get it again. No joke, and look.

With Republicans set to take control of the House in 2023, the lame end-of-year session could be one last chance for Biden to achieve his goal before the 2024 presidential election.

“I’m going to try to get rid of the assault weapons,” Biden said at the fire station.

The first family has returned to Massachusetts Island in a tradition that began decades ago when Joe and Jill Biden were still dating.

The president and first lady delivered pumpkin pies to Nantucket firefighters, along with their grandson, Beau, who was given a small firefighter helmet to wear.

They also called out for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, thanking firefighters and the military, and said their day would be quiet.

“We’re just going to have dinner with the family, probably take a walk on the beach and feel grateful for our family,” Jill Biden said.

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