President Biden said Thursday he would try to pass a bill banning assault rifles during the lame-duck session before the next Congress forms, despite long odds due to Republican opposition.
Biden spoke to reporters on Thanksgiving morning, after a week that saw three mass shootings in the United States
Biden said it was “ridiculous” that red flag laws — in which law enforcement can seize firearms from people deemed a threat to themselves or others — were not being enforced across the country.
“None. 2, the idea … we still allow the purchase of semi-automatic weapons is sick. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redemptive value. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary justification for it, except profit for the gun manufacturers ,” he said.
Biden said he would “try to get rid of assault weapons” during the lame-duck session, but that would depend on whether he has the votes to pass a bill.
“I’ll do that when I — I’ll make that assessment when I get in and start counting the votes,” he said.
The House introduced a bill to ban assault weapons earlier this year, but it was doomed with Democrats holding a slim majority in the Senate and most Republicans united against such legislation, making it impossible to overcome a filibuster.
The promise of any gun control bill will become even more difficult when the next Congress forms in January, when Republicans take control of the House.
It’s been another dark week for gun violence in America.
On Tuesday night, a gunman opened fire with a handgun inside a break room at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., killing six people and wounding at least six others.
Three days before that, a gunman opened fire inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing five people and wounding at least 25 others.
And less than a week before the Colorado shooting, a University of Virginia student shot and killed three other students after they returned from a field trip.
The violence has shaken the nation again, just months after a May massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
After Uvalde, lawmakers in Congress passed a bipartisan gun control bill that, among other things, expanded background checks for people ages 18 to 21.
It was the most significant piece of gun control legislation in about three decades, but it lacked more comprehensive gun control reforms that many activists and Democrats had called for.
Biden, who was a senator when Congress passed a temporary assault weapons ban in 1994, called for another ban on assault weapons after Uvalde.