President Biden said Thursday that he would push Congress to pass new gun control laws before Republicans take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in January.
Biden told reporters during a press event in Nantucket, Mass., that the recent shooting of a LGBT nightclub in Colorado had reinforced the need to adopt an assault weapons ban.
“The idea that we’re still allowing the purchase of semi-automatic weapons is sick,” Biden said. “It has no social redeeming value… Not a single justification for it except profit for the gun manufacturers.”
Semi-automatic weapons, including handguns and rifles, fire a bullet for each pull of the trigger.
Biden said he would push federal lawmakers to pass a new assault weapons ban before January, when the next Congress takes office. Republicans gained control of the House.
“I’ll try,” said the president. “I will try to get rid of assault weapons.”
Biden said he would engage lawmakers to make a broader assessment of whether success is possible. At the moment, the odds seem long.
Democrats control the House by a narrow margin until January. The Senate, meanwhile, is split 50-50 between both parties. For a comprehensive gun control package to pass, including an assault weapons ban, at least 10 GOP supporters are needed to break the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold.
Earlier this year, Biden’s call for an assault weapons ban fell flat with Republicans, even as nearly two dozen GOP senators rejected the gun lobby in favor of a bipartisan gun bill.
The political environment is unlikely to get any easier in January. While Democrats lost control of the House to Republicans, the party held narrow control of the Senate — albeit not nearly enough to break an expected filibuster without GOP support.