Biden: “Congress has to Act” on Gun Legislation

March 28, 2023

President Biden on Tuesday said “Congress has to act” on gun legislation, following Monday’s deadly mass shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville. 

“I have done the full extent of my executive authority to do on my own anything about guns,” Biden told reporters on the White House lawn while competing with the sounds of Marine One’s helicopter blades. “The Congress has to act. The majority of the American people think having assault weapons is bizarre, it’s a crazy idea. They’re against that.” 

On Monday, a mass shooter who was later identified by police as a former student of Covenant, a private Christian school for grades pre-K through 6, killed three adults and three 9-year-olds before she died in a shootout with police. It was the 128th mass shooting so far this year.

During remarks at a White House event on Monday, President Biden noted that police had stated that the shooter had been armed with two assault weapons, further saying, “I called on Congress again to pass my assault weapons ban. It’s about time that we began to make some more progress.”

Biden has focused on reinstating the assault weapons ban that he helped pass in 1994 as Senator, but which lapsed in 2004.

“Let me remind you, the last time we passed the assault weapons ban, violent shootings went down, mass shootings went down,” Biden said on Tuesday. “So, I can’t do anything except plead with the Congress to act reasonably.”

However, the last time the Democrats attempted to push through the legislation, but there were not enough votes to pass it in Congress. That was July 2022 when Democrats had majorities in both the House and Senate. Now, Republicans hold majority in the House.

On Monday, Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) from the state where the school shooting took place told reporters there was no way to “fix” gun violence in the U.S.

“It’s a horrible, horrible situation,” he said. “And we’re not gonna fix it. Criminals are gonna be criminals.”

Meanwhile, a Christmas photo of Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN), whose Congressional district includes Nashville, went viral on Monday, after he said he was “sending thoughts and prayers to the families of those lost.”

The photo portrayed him with his family in front of a Christmas tree with all but one family member—the youngest child—holding automatic weapons.

When asked by reporters if he had any regrets about the photo, which he’d initially posted on Facebook, Ogles replied, “Why would I regret a photograph with my family exercising my rights to bear arms?” 

Roughly two-thirds of the public (66%) favor stricter gun laws, according to a July 2022 CNN poll, with more than 4 in 10 saying that gun legislation enacted last year didn’t go far enough to change things. 

Tuesday on the White House lawn, Biden was asked if he had plans to visit Nashville. He said he did.

“I’ve spoken with everyone down there from the Mayor to the Senators to all of the players. I spoke with the Chief of Police today. I’ve spoken to all of them,” said Biden. “I’ve seen too many of these myself, as you know,” he added, referring to mass shootings.

PHOTO: @MNPDNashville

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