President Joe Biden laid out his response to the recent spate of horrific mass shootings in a national address Thursday evening. And his proposals took clear aim at guns being responsible for the recent tragedies.
The president prefaced his remarks by saying that “to be very clear,” no one’s guns are being taken away. That quickly faded like the fog as a series of proposals were unveiled to do exactly that.
The president implored Republicans to support his gun control measures after asking, “How much more carnage are we willing to accept?” The appeal quickly turned to urging voters to purge Republicans in the November midterms.
Speaking from the White House with lit candles as a backdrop, Biden called for a specific list of actions to be taken to curb gun violence.
The president recalled the 1994 assault weapons ban that Congress allowed to lapse in 2004. He then pushed a similar measure that includes high-capacity magazines.
Biden echoed a now-familiar call to raise the minimum age for purchasing the weapons, if they are not banned, from 18 to 21. He proposed that Congress increase the stringency of background checks and move on safe storage provisions and “red flag” laws.
The combination of measures, he argued, would prevent felons and fugitives from possessing guns.
Calling out protections the gun industry has from being sued over deaths and destruction from misuse of their products, Biden proposed the liability shield for gunmakers be repealed. The truth is, manufacturers of firearms, as in other industries, face civil suits over a range of issues.
Then he turned to a point backed by many Republicans who oppose new gun restrictions – mental health. Saying the nation has a “serious mental health crisis,” Biden reiterated his proposal earlier this year for more mental health services in schools.
Further, he said young people need privacy protection and resources to prevent harm caused by social media. On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced three new gun laws are headed from the House Judiciary Committee to the floor for a vote next week.
With an evenly divided Senate, chances of passage of most if not all of Biden’s proposals are slim at best. Some critics see red flag laws as the area mostly likely to draw some bipartisan support, though that is far from certain.
In the meantime, where’s the push for securing school buildings and other soft targets? Being tough on crime is a dead issue for Democrats, many of whom just last year called for police departments to be abolished. Or, as they put it in leftspeak, “reimagined.” How’s that working out?