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Biden asks Congress to pass sweeping gun control, incl. ‘assault weapons’ ban

President Joe Biden on the phone with service members on Feb. 7, 2021, at the Lake House in Wilmington, Del. (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)
February 15, 2021

President Joe Biden marked the third anniversary of the deadly Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. school shooting on Sunday by asking Congress to pass strict gun control, including an “assault weapon” ban.

At the end of his statement, Biden said simply, “I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”

Biden’s request matches the same gun control policies listed on his campaign website during the 2020 presidential campaign, which he referred to as “constitutional, common-sense gun safety policies.”

Here is Biden’s full statement below:

Three years ago today, a lone gunman took the lives of 14 students and three educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In seconds, the lives of dozens of families, and the life of an American community, were changed forever.
 
For three years now, the Parkland families have spent birthdays and holidays without their loved ones. They’ve missed out on the experience of sending their children off to college or seeing them on their first job after high school. Like far too many families, they’ve had to bury pieces of their soul deep within the Earth. Like far too many families — and, indeed, like our nation — they’ve been left to wonder whether things would ever be okay.
 
These families are not alone. In big cities and small towns. In schools and shopping malls. In churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples. In movie theaters and concert halls. On city street corners that will never get a mention on the evening news. All across our nation, parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends have known the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence. And in this season of so much loss, last year’s historic increase in homicides across America, including the gun violence disproportionately devastating Black and Brown individuals in our cities, has added to the number of empty seats at our kitchen tables. Today, as we mourn with the Parkland community, we mourn for all who have lost loved ones to gun violence.
 
Over these three years, the Parkland families have taught all of us something profound. Time and again, they have showed us how we can turn our grief into purpose – to march, organize, and build a strong, inclusive, and durable movement for change.
 
The Parkland students and so many other young people across the country who have experienced gun violence are carrying forward the history of the American journey. It is a history written by young people in each generation who challenged prevailing dogma to demand a simple truth: we can do better. And we will.
 
This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer. Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets. We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.

Biden’s campaign website included his vows to ban online gun and ammo sales, limit gun sales, ban “assault weapons,” force gun owners into buybacks or registration, and various other restrictions.

In December, Stef Feldman, the national policy director for Biden’s presidential campaign, said Biden would use executive action to combat gun violence if Democrats did not gain control of the Senate.

Feldman said at the time that Biden planned to “make big, bold changes through executive action, not just on policing and climate like we talked about previously, but in healthcare and education on gun violence, on a range of issues.”

Feldman said that Biden would implement changes on guns quickly, adding, “There’s really a lot you can do through guidance and executive action.”