On the third anniversary of the Parkland school shooting, President Joe Biden spoke about the continuing “epidemic of gun violence.” He called on Congress to pass strict “commonsense gun law reforms,” including a ban on assault weapons. He has also called for new laws requiring strict background checks before gun sales happen, thereby ending the immunity that gun manufacturers “who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets” had, and banning large-capacity magazines.
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On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida – killing 17 people in total. President Biden, on the third anniversary of this day, said, “Today, as we mourn with the Parkland community, we mourn for all who have lost loved ones to gun violence.” Biden added that his administration “will not wait for the next mass shooting” to take action. He further said, “We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.”
While Biden spoke frequently during his campaign trail about the need to reduce gun violence across the country, the White House hasn’t mentioned anything yet about how the President plans to achieve this. Gun control advocates are optimistic that Washington may work on the issue after years of inaction. The Wall Street Journal reported that gun control activists are also heartened because the White House has begun reaching out to them.
Activists also want the administration to take action that doesn’t require the approval of Congress because of the low Democratic majority. One of their suggested measures is appointing a senior aide to oversee gun policy and push for existing laws to be implemented more strictly. Gun-rights groups are alarmed by this, and National Rifle Association spokeswoman Amy Hunter said that Biden “may become the most anti-gun president in American history.”
However, while some activists are heartened by the White House reaching out to them, some are concerned that there has been comparatively little outreach to Black-led gun violence prevention groups that focus on everyday gun violence.
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