President Biden on gun laws

June 3, 2022

We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

President Biden during a national address at the White House.

Why It Matters: After several recent mass shootings, the president mapped out his priorities on gun laws. Whether Congress will reach the bipartisan support needed to pass legislation (and whether this reflects the will of their constituents) before the midterm elections in November remains TBD.

The president listed several suggestions:

  • An “assault weapons” ban — this usually refers to certain semi-automatic weapons.
  • A ban on high-capacity magazines (which enable a gun to shoot more bullets before reloading).
  • Stronger background checks.
  • Red-flag laws (empowering law enforcement to proactively confiscate someone’s weapons if they pose a threat to themselves or the community).
  • Raising the purchasing age of certain semi-automatic weapons.

The House of Representatives started moving forward on legislation that would raise the age for purchasing semi-automatic rifles. While this bill has the potential to pass the House with the Democratic majority, it likely will not pass the Senate, where it needs bipartisan support to pass.

Remarks by President Biden on Gun Violence in America

Interesting anecdote at the end of the speech:

“…a grandmother who had just lost her granddaughter passed me a handwritten letter.

It read, quote, ‘Erase the invisible line that is dividing our nation. Come up with a solution and fix what’s broken and make the changes that are necessary to prevent this from happening again.’ End of quote.

My fellow Americans, enough. Enough. It’s time for each of us to do our part. It’s time to act.”

Over the last week, there have been reports of the president taking potential executive action (without Congress) on gun laws — something he did not mention overtly in the speech but seemed to infer in his repeated call for action. However, the president’s power is limited and a plan of action from the White House has yet to be publicly discussed.

by Jenna Lee,