Biden Urges Senate to Pass Gun Background Check Bill After Boulder Shooting
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden urged lawmakers to pass gun-control measures -- including background checks and a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines -- a day after a shooting at a Colorado supermarket killed 10 people.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that’ll save lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Biden said Tuesday at the White House.
He said background checks, which have divided Republicans and Democrats, “should not be a partisan issue” and “will save lives.” He said an assault-weapons ban “was law for the longest time and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again.”
The deadly rampage in Boulder came just days after shootings at three spas in the Atlanta area in which a White man allegedly killed six Asian women and two others. The two episodes have reignited debate around gun control, an issue that has bitterly divided Democrats and Republicans for decades.
Monday’s attack was the seventh mass killing this year in the U.S., according to a database compiled by AP, USA Today and Northeastern University.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday promised that the Senate will “debate and address the epidemic of gun violence in this country.”
Earlier this month, the House passed a bill that would require background checks for all firearms sales, including at gun shows. Another bill the chamber passed would prevent gun sales from proceeding if a background check isn’t completed within three days.
As a candidate, Biden’s platform on gun control included ending online sales of firearms and ammunition, institute “red flag” laws to remove access of guns from people who pose a danger to themselves or others, and ban the manufacturing and sale of assault weapons, among other measures.
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said one suspect was in custody. Authorities identified the suspect as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, according to the Associated Press. Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said the suspect was receiving medical care, AP reported.
Authorities identified the slain officer in Boulder as Eric Talley, 51, who had been with Boulder police since 2010. AP reported that Talley was the first to arrive after responding to a call about shots fired and someone carrying a rifle.
“It’s tragic, ten people going about their day, living their lives, not bothering anybody. A police officer who is performing his duties, and with great courage and heroism,” Vice President Kamala Harris told reporters Tuesday morning.
In the Georgia attacks, police arrested Robert Aaron Long, 21, in connection with those murders. Long has denied his acts were racially motivated.
The attacks fueled outrage about a spike in anti-Asian sentiment amid the coronavirus pandemic, with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying President Donald Trump bears some responsibility for threats and violence against Asian Americans. Psaki cited Trump’s offensive descriptions of the virus and its origins.
The violence follows a lull in mass killings during the pandemic in 2020, which had the smallest number of such attacks in more than a decade, according to the database, which defines mass killings as four or more dead, not including the shooter.
(Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for universal background checks and gun-control measures, is backed by Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent company Bloomberg LP.)
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