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Biden says he will renew push to ban assault weapons

by SuperiorInvest

Customers view AR-15 rifles at a store in Orem, Utah, Thursday, March 25, 2021.

George Frey | Bloomberg | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden said Thursday he will try again to enact a ban on assault rifles after a wave of mass shootings which again focused on national gun control laws.

Speaking to reporters during a Thanksgiving morning visit to a fire station, the president reiterated his longstanding argument that such weapons are a societal menace and should not be sold.

“The idea that we’re still allowing the purchase of semi-automatic weapons is sick,” he said while greeting firefighters in Nantucket, where he and his family are spending the Thanksgiving holiday. “It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. None. There isn’t a single solitary reason for it other than profit for the gun manufacturers.”

Congress has been reluctant to outlaw the AR-15 and other assault weapons. House controlled by Democrats he passed ban in July, in a vote mostly along party lines. But the bill has little chance of advancing in the Senate, where 10 Republicans would have to join a unified caucus of Democrats to break a filibuster.

Biden was asked if he might seek a ban in a lame-duck session of Congress, when outgoing lawmakers who don’t face another election might feel freer to break with grassroots voters and the well-funded gun lobby.

“I’ll try,” Biden said. “I’ll do it whenever…” he continued. “I have to evaluate that once I get 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 a night manager at a Walmart store in Virginia opened fire on his co-workers, kill six and leaves at least half a dozen more injured. The shooter, identified as 31-year-old Andre Bing, took his own life. Authorities said he used a handgun in the attack.

Mass shootings occur with chilling frequency. Shooter on Saturday he killed five people and injured more than two dozen others at Club Q, an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs. Patrons prevented more deaths by standing up and disarming the suspect, who officials identified as Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22. The weapon used was a Colt-style AR-15, according to Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez.

Flowers, signs, balloons and more are left at a makeshift memorial near the Q Club on November 20, 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Helen H. Richardson/medianews Group/Denver Post via Getty Images | Denver Post | Getty Images

The president and first lady Jill Biden called the owners of Q Club on Thursday, according to the White House. They told the two owners, Nic Grzecka and Matthew Haynes, that they are committed to fighting “hate and gun violence,” the White House said.

Biden has a long history of pushing to ban the sale of assault weapons. As a senator for Delaware in 1994, he helped introduce an assault weapons ban that was credited reducing deaths from a mass shooting. The ban expired 10 years later under President George W. Bush and was never renewed.

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

“By the way, I’m going to get an assault weapons ban,” the president he told CNN. “Before this is over I’ll take it again. It’s not a joke and look.”

With Republicans set to take control of the House in 2023, the lame duck session at the end of the year may be Biden’s last chance to fulfill his goal before the 2024 presidential election.

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

The first family returned to the 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, accompanied by their grandson Beau, who was given a small fireman’s helmet to wear.

Also called the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York, thanked firefighters and service members and said they would have a peaceful day.

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

Petr Mikuláš is the chief national political reporter for NBC News.

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