President Biden said Thursday he will urge Congress to pass new gun control laws before Republicans take control of the US House of Representatives in January.
Biden told reporters during a press event in Nantucket, Massachusetts that the recent shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Colorado has reinforced the need to enact an assault weapons ban.
“The idea that we would still allow semi-automatic weapons to be bought is sick,” Biden said. “It has no social redemption value… There is no justification for it other than profit for the arms manufacturers.”
Semi-automatic weapons, including handguns and rifles, fire a bullet for each pull of the trigger.
Biden said he will urge federal lawmakers to enact a new ban on assault weapons before January, when the next Congress takes office and Republicans gain control of the House of Representatives.
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“I’ll try,” said the President. “I’ll try to get rid of offensive weapons.”
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Biden said he will involve lawmakers to make a broader assessment of whether success is possible. At the moment the odds seem long.
Democrats narrowly control the House of Representatives through January. The Senate, meanwhile, is split 50:50 between the two parties. Passing a comprehensive gun control package, including a ban on assault weapons, will require at least 10 GOP supporters to break the Senate’s 60-vote filibuster threshold.
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Earlier this year, Biden’s call for an assault weapons ban fell flat with Republicans, even as nearly two dozen GOP senators defied the gun lobby to push for a bipartisan gun bill.
The political environment is unlikely to get any easier in January. While Democrats lost control of the House to Republicans, the party maintained tight control of the Senate — though not nearly enough to break an expected filibuster with no GOP support.