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Video: Biden calls for Congress to immediately ‘ban assault weapons, high-capacity magazines’

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Colorado shooting, March 23, 2021. (White House/Released)
March 23, 2021

After 10 people died, including a police officer, in a Boulder, Colo. supermarket shooting, President Joe Biden addressed the nation on Tuesday with a brief speech calling for gun control and urging Congress to act “immediately.”

Biden said, “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future, and to urge my colleagues in the House and the Senate to act.”

“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. It passed, it was the law for the longest time and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again,” he added.

Biden specifically said “loopholes” in the national background check system should be closed, calling it “one of the best tools we have right now to prevent gun violence.”

Earlier this month, the House passed HR 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 with a vote of 227-203, which forbids the transfer of weapons between individuals without a background check, including in private sales.

The House also passed HR 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, which imposes an FBI hold limit of up to 30 days on transfers pending a background check, up from a current hold limit of three days.

Both bills were sent to the Senate, and Biden said senators should “immediately” pass the bills, calling it “an American issue.”

Boulder, Colo. itself had banned “assault weapons” in 2018, but a court had blocked the ban just 10 days ago. It’s unclear if the ban would’ve had any impact on the Monday shooting.

Former President Barack Obama also issued a call for gun control on Tuesday in the form of a statement released to the public.

“It is long past time for those with the power to fight this epidemic of gun violence to do so,” Obama wrote.

“It will take time to root out the disaffection, racism and misogyny that fuels so many of these senseless acts of violence. But we can make it harder for those with hate in their hearts to buy weapons of war. We can overcome opposition by cowardly politicians and the pressure of a gun lobby that opposes any limit on the ability of anyone to assemble an arsenal. We can, and we must,” he added.

Biden and Obama’s calls for gun control came hours after police identified 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa as the sole suspect in the shooting at a Boulder, Colo. King Soopers supermarket shooting that left 10 dead, including a local police officer.

Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold confirmed Tuesday morning that Alissa was shot during an exchange of gunfire with police. He was arrested and taken to a hospital for treatment, and is currently in stable condition.

The 10 deceased victims ranged in age 20 to 65, and were identified overnight. Herold identified them as:

  • Denny Strong, 20
  • Neven Stanisic, 23
  • Rikki Olds, 25
  • Tralona Bartkowiak, 49
  • Teri Leiker, 51
  • Eric Talley, 51
  • Suzanne Fountain, 59
  • Kevin Mahoney, 61
  • Lynn Murray, 62
  • Jodi Waters, 65

Alissa has been charged with 10 counts of first degree murder and will be transported to Boulder County jail.

Officials said a thorough investigation is underway into Alissa’s background. They confirmed he was from Arvada – a suburb of Denver, located approximately 20 miles southeast of Boulder – and has lived in the U.S. “for most of his life.”