President Biden said Thursday he was “going to try to get rid of assault weapons” during the lame duck session before the new Congress takes over in the new year.
Speaking to reporters on Thanksgiving following three mass shootings in roughly a week, Biden said the idea that “we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturers.”
On Sunday November 13, police say a student at the University of Virginia shot and killed three other students after they returned from a class field trip.
This past Saturday, a shooter opened fire inside Club Q, an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and injuring at least 25 others.
And on Tuesday night, man identified as a nightshift worker allegedly opened fire with a handgun inside a break room at a Walmart in Chesapeake, VA, killing six people and injuring at least six others.
In June, Congress passed the first gun control legislation in nearly three decades. It came in the aftermath of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, TX where 19 children and two teachers were killed. While it enhanced background checks for gun buyers under age 21 and fortified red flag laws, it avoided any restrictions on assault weapons—like the semiautomatic rifle used by the Uvalde gunman.
President Biden was a Senator when Congress passed an assault weapons ban in 1994, which it let expire ten years later.
The House introduced a bill to ban assault weapons earlier this year, but it failed to reach the necessary votes to survive a filibuster in the Senate.
It’s far from sure that there would be enough votes to pass any such legislation in the current lame duck.
“I got to make that assessment as I get in and start counting the votes,” Biden said on Thursday.