President Joe Biden strode down a red carpet lined with candles, to a different podium than the one he stood behind just nine days ago to again address the mass shootings that have left scores dead in the last month alone.
“For God’s sake, how much more carnage are we willing to accept?” he asked. “How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say enough? Enough.”
While his address last Tuesday in the immediate aftermath of the mass murder of 19 children and two of their teachers in Uvalde, Texas was focused on mourning the dead, on Thursday Biden outlined a specific set of policies he said would help curb the violence.
“Here’s what the families in Buffalo and Uvalde in Texas told us we must do,” he said. “We need to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines. And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21.”
Biden also listed strengthening safe storage laws, background checks and implementing red flag laws among other “rational common sense measures” that must be taken up and passed by Congress. Several of these proposals were rejected in the months after 26 people, including 20 children, were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary nearly ten years ago.
“I support the bipartisan efforts that includes small group of Democrats and Republican senators trying to find a way, but my God, the fact that the majority of the Senate Republicans don’t want any of these proposals, even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable,” he said. “We can’t fail the American people again.”
That bipartisan group has indicated in recent days they have made progress on a framework to address gun violence, mainly focused on keeping weapons out of the wrong hands through proposals like expanded background checks and so-called red flag laws.
Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee held a meeting Thursday to begin consideration of a bill that would ban high capacity magazines, raise the age to buy certain guns from 18 to 21, and place new requirements for the purchase of “ghost gun” kits.
In a letter to her caucus on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that bill as well as measures to implement a federal “red flag” law, create an AMBER alert style warning system for mass shootings and an assault weapons ban, would receive consideration in the House in the coming weeks.
“To all those in the Congress who would stand in the way of saving lives: your political survival is insignificant compared to the survival of our children,” Pelosi wrote. “ We will not rest until the job is done.”
But even if these bills pass in the House, few, if any, will make it through the Senate.
Biden, for his part, warned that if Congress failed to act, voters would take out their frustration at the polls.
“I’ve been in this fight for a long time. I know how hard it is, but I’ll never give up,” he said. “And if Congress fails. I believe this time a majority of American people won’t give up either. I believe the majority of you will act to turn your outrage into making this issue central to your vote.
“Enough. Enough. Enough.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism