President Joe Biden delivered a 20-minute gun speech at the White House on Monday in which he called on Congress to pass “safe storage” gun laws holding gun owners personally liable for locking up their guns, in addition to bans on “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines.
While speaking to commemorate the passage of the “Bipartisan Safer Communities Act” he signed into law last month, Biden said, “We should have safe storage laws requiring personal liability for not locking up your gun.”
“If you own a weapon, you have the responsibility to secure it and keep it under lock and key,” Biden said. “Responsible gun owners agree: No one else should have access to it, so lock it up.”
Biden lamented the access gunman Adam Lanza had when he obtained his mother’s gun before fatally shooting her and 20 children along with six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in 2012.
Lanza’s home was “full of guns and assault weapons that were too easy to access,” Biden said.
However, other mass shooting perpetrators – such as the 18-year-old gunmen behind the Uvalde school shooting and the Tops grocery store shooting – obtained their rifles legally via purchase from a retailer as an eligible adult buyer. A gun storage law wouldn’t have prevented their legal purchase of firearms.
Biden also took aim at “assault weapons,” and declared the U.S. is “awash in weapons of war.”
“Assault weapons need to be banned. They were banned. … I’m determined to ban these weapons again, and high-capacity magazines,” he said.
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – which passed the House with a 234-193 vote and Senate with a 65-33 vote – included funding for states to enact “red flag” gun confiscation laws modeled after federal framework released earlier this year, as well as stricter background checks for gun buyers under age 21, a waiting period for 18-20-year-old gun buyers, new gun ownership restrictions for domestic abusers, and mental health program funding.
The law requires local and state level juvenile and mental health records to be added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), expanding the background checks for gun buyers under age 21 to scan for more potentially disqualifying factors. A waiting period of up to 10 days may be imposed for the background check.
Critics argued that the bill didn’t go far enough in enacting strict gun control measures, such as the coveted “assault weapons” ban demanded by anti-gun Democrats.