Washington, April 9 2021: The recent spate of deadly mass shootings in Atlanta, Colorado and Springfield and over 29 such incidents in the past 5 years alone, shows the bleak reality of how much the gun violence epidemic in the US outpaces other countries. Nearly 40,000 Americans die each year from shootings. This includes extensively covered mass shootings like recent killings in Colorado, Georgia and California and also suicide.
President Joe Biden, who has long been a critic of unchecked arms sales, has now taken a hard stance against the crisis and termed it an “international embarrassment” and “a public health crisis” at a recent White House ceremony in the Rose Garden.
The democrat, flanked by Attorney General Merrick Garland and Vice President Kamala Harris, said, “Enough prayers”, “Time for some action.”He added, “the idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America is a blemish on our character as a nation.”
And so without Congress support, Biden has announced executive measures such as stricter background checks for buyers and tamping down on the proliferation of “Ghost guns” which bear no serial numbers and are hence untraceable. Another proposed rule will be tightening regulations on arm braces designed to stabilize pistols, a device used by the man who killed 10 people in a Colorado grocery store last month.
Ever critical of what they call an infringement of Second Amendment rights, Republicans immediately attacked the proposal, with the party’s senior leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, warning of “unconstitutional overreach.”
Biden also used the occasion to announce the nomination of David Chipman, former law law enforcement officer and proponent of gun control, as the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Urging Congress to consider more far-reaching measures, Biden said his proposals were just a start and with issues like these, there was a lot of common ground among all the stakeholders.
There is ferocious opposition to banning powerful weapons like the AR-15, a semi-automatic resembling the US military M16 rifle, a tool of choice in mass shootings. Biden successfully backed an assault weapons ban in 1994 when he was a senator which expired a decade ago
Representative Robert Aderholt stated the stance of the Republican party, saying, “President Biden’s executive actions today do two things: appease the far left and infringe upon our Second Amendment right to bear arms,”
According to Jim Jordan, a Republican lawmaker from Ohio, “They want to take your guns.” McCarthy vowed his party would strongly oppose and pursue every option, be it legislative or judicial, to protect the right to keep firearms.
When asked if he could get enough votes in senate to pass bills for tighter gun control, Biden said “I don’t know.”
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