Speaking from the White House on Tuesday prior to his trip to Ohio, President Joe Biden mourned the losses of the 10 victims of the deadly supermarket shooting in Boulder, Colorado, and expressed condolences to their families.
What You Need To Know
- President Joe Biden called for Congress to pass the House’s bills expanding background checks and a ban on assault weapons in the aftermath of a deadly supermarket shooting in Boulder, Colorado
- Biden mourned the loss of the 10 victims and expressed condolence to their families, making special mention of the slain Officer Eric Talley, calling him an “American hero”
- Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pledged to put background check legislation on the Senate floor for a vote
- Biden earlier ordered the White House flags to fly at half-staff to honor the victims of the shooting
A gunman opened fire in a crowded King Soopers supermarket on Monday, killing 10 people and sending shoppers, employees, and people lining up for COVID-19 vaccines fleeing in terror. Authorities announced Tuesday that a 21-year-old suspect has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder.
“Less than a week after the horrific murders of eight people and the assault on the AAPI community in Georgia, while the flag was still flying half staff for the tragedy, another American city has been scarred by gun violence and the resulting trauma,” Biden said. “And I even hate to say it, because we’re saying it so often: My heart goes out. Our hearts go out for the survivors who had to flee for their lives, and who hid, terrified, unsure if they would ever see their families again, their friends again.”
Biden thanked the heroic police officers and first responders, making special mention of the slain Officer Eric Talley, commending his bravery and sending condolences to his family.
“When he pinned on that badge yesterday morning he didn’t know what the day would bring,” Biden said, adding: “He thought he’d be coming home to his family and his 7 children. But when the moment to act came, Officer Talley did not hesitate in his duty, making the ultimate sacrifice in his effort to save lives. That’s the definition of an American hero.”
I don’t need to wait another minute – or another hour – to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future,” Biden said, calling for the Senate to “immediately pass” the background check bills the House passed earlier this month, citing that they have bipartisan support and “should not be a partisan issue.”
“This is an American issue,” Biden said. “It will save lives, American lives. And we have to act.”
“We should also ban assault weapons in the process,” Biden said.
Biden’s comments echo that of his former boss, President Barack Obama, who mourned the losses while calling for leaders and lawmakers to action on gun violence.
“In a normal life, we should be able to buy groceries without fear,” Obama said in a statement. “We should be able to go to school, or go out with our friends, or worship together without mentally planning our escape if someone shows up with a gun. We should be able to live our lives without wondering if the next trip outside our home could be our last.
A once-in-a-century pandemic cannot be the only thing that slows mass shootings in this country. It’s time for leaders everywhere to listen to the American people when they say enough is enough. pic.twitter.com/7MEJ87Is3E
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama)
“We should. But in America, we can’t,” he continued, before calling for action: “We can make it harder for those with hate in their hearts to buy weapons of war. We can overcome opposition by cowardly politicians and the pressure of a gun lobby that opposes any limit on the ability of anyone to assemble an arsenal. We can, and we must.”
“A once-in-a-century pandemic cannot be the only thing that slows mass shootings in this country,” the 44th president said, adding: “It’s time for leaders everywhere to listen to the American people when they say enough is enough.”
The Senate held a hearing on Tuesday, titled “Constitutional and Common Sense Steps to Reduce Gun Violence,” which was scheduled prior to the deadly shootings in Georgia and Colorado. The hearing took on new meaning Tuesday following the deaths of at least 18 Americans due to gun violence.
“What are we doing?” Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked as he opened up the hearing. “We won’t solve this crisis with prosecutions after funerals. We need prevention before shooting.”
Sen. Durbin called gun violence in the United States a “public health crisis” and after calling for a moment of silence, asked for “a moment of action. A moment of real caring. A moment when we don’t allow others to do what we need to do. Prayer leaders have their important place in this, but we are Senate leaders. What are we doing?”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), who has been pushing for gun control measures since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which saw 26 people killed, including 20 children between 6 and 7 years old, expressed optimism for change after years of inaction.
“America woke today to another nightmare, stunning shocking, savage, but unsurprising because this kind of horror is thoroughly predictable as long as Congress fails to act,” Blumenthal told reporters. “This time feels different. We have a President committed to ending gun violence, a majority in both houses of Congress, and most importantly, a growing grassroots movement led by a new generation, and of course our opponents are on their heels.”
But Republicans are standing firm against Democratic efforts to enact gun control measures.
“Every time there’s an incident like this, the people who don’t want to protect Second Amendment use it as an excuse to further erode Second Amendment rights,” Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) told reporters, claiming: “Their ultimate goal is to abolish our rights.”
A Suffolk University-USA Today poll from 2019 showed that 90% of registered voters want universal background checks for all firearms sales. A Quinnippiac poll from 2017 shows similar margins, with 94% supporting background checks. A Pew Research Center survey from 2019 showed wide bipartisan support for background checks for gun sales at gun shows and sales at gun shows.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) pledged to put background check legislation on the Senate floor for a vote, noting that the body “must confront a devastating truth” after a lack of Congressional action on gun violence.
“This Senate will be different,” Schumer said. “The Senate is going to debate and address the epidemic of gun violence in this country.”
Biden earlier ordered the White House flags to fly at half-staff to honor the victims of the shooting.
This content was originally published here.