President Joe Biden released a statement calling again on Congress to act on gun control following the deadly mass shooting at a downtown San Jose, Calif. railyard that left eight people dead and several more injured.
Biden said he ordered flags lowered to half-staff at all federal facilities nationwide in honor of the victims from Wednesday’s “horrific tragedy,” lamenting that he did so just weeks earlier for mass shootings “at spas in and around Atlanta; in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado; at a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina; and at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.”
“Enough,” Biden stated. “Once again, I urge Congress to take immediate action and heed the call of the American people, including the vast majority of gun owners, to help end this epidemic of gun violence in America.”
“Every life that is taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation. We can, and we must, do more,” he added.
Biden’s statement came hours after Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority employee Samuel Cassidy opened fire at a railyard in downtown San Jose, killing eight of his colleagues and injuring others before taking his own life.
Officials are not yet sure of Cassidy’s motive. A fire later broke out at Cassidy’s home some eight miles from the scene of the shooting, resulting in a one-hour battle with the blaze that heavily damaged the home, CNN reported.
Wednesday wasn’t the first time Biden called on Congress to enact gun control.
In February, Biden marked the third anniversary of the deadly Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. school shooting by asking Congress to pass strict gun control, including an “assault weapon” ban.
“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 said in a statement at the time.
Also on Wednesday, Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), David Chipman, told lawmakers that he supports a ban on the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Chipman responded to Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) question on whether the nominee would support a ban on the AR-15, which Cruz referred to as “one of – if not the – most popular rifle in America.”
“With respect to the AR-15, I support a ban as it has been presented in a Senate bill and supported by the president,” Chipman responded. “The AR-15 is a gun I was issued on ATF’s SWAT team. It’s a particularly lethal weapon and regulating it as other particular lethal weapons I have advocated for.”
Chipman also said he supported an “assault weapon ban” but did not specify what firearms would fall under the category of “assault weapon.”
Chipman also previously expressed his support of criminalizing private firearm sales during an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit last month. He has also worked with former Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford at her Courage to Fight Gun Violence organization as a senior policy advisor “to save lives from gun violence.”