President Biden fights for gun control


Patrick Semansky

President Joe Biden speaks about the shooting in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, March 23, 2021, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Alex Hopper, News Editor

President Biden addressed the country, commenting on the seemingly constant string of mass shootings in America. The President called for immediate action to stop gun violence. 

In 2021 alone, there have been 143 mass shootings, as defined by the Gun Violence Archive. With all other forms of gun violence included, such as suicide and homicide, that total rises to around 12,000. 

Though it may have seemed like gun violence and mass shootings had slowed down last year due to the pandemic, data shows the opposite. 

The gun violence archive charted a record high of 610 mass shootings in 2020, since the organization began tracking in 2014. 

In 2021, America is averaging more than one mass shooting a day. In the span of a month, there have been 45 mass shootings, with only a few becoming widely seen on national news. 

“Our flag was still flying at half-staff for the victims of the horrific murder of eight primarily Asian American people in Georgia when ten more lives were taken in a mass murder in Colorado,” said Biden during his remarks. 

Biden called gun violence in America an “epidemic” and an “international embarrassment.”

Here is a short list of the mass shootings from March to April.  

On April 15, at least eight people were killed in Indianapolis in a FedEx warehouse.  

On April 7, a former N.F.L player shot and killed a doctor, the doctor’s wife, and their two grandchildren, as well as two technicians that were working outside the home in South Carolina. 

On April 3, authorities said two brothers killed four family members before committing suicide in Texas. 

On March 31, a gunman opened fire into a real estate office killing four people, including a 9-year-old boy in California. 

On March 22, a gunman killed 10 people inside a grocery store in Colorado. 

On March 16, eight people, including six women of Asian descent were killed at three spas that gunman frequented. 

In reaction to these events, Biden stated that “enough is enough.”

He scolded congress for any inaction on gun violence. 

“They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress, but they have passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence,” said Biden. “Enough prayers, time for some action.”

The President explained his plan to end gun violence. Some changes will be enacted  immediately while others will be seen in the coming months. 

“I asked the Attorney General and his team to identify for me immediate, concrete actions I could can take now without having to go through the Congress,” said Biden.

Firstly, the President hopes to rein in the proliferation of “ghost guns.”

Ghost guns are handmade guns built from a kit. The kits have no serial numbers making them untraceable. Buyers are also not required to pass a background check before buying the kit. 

“Anyone from a criminal to a terrorist can buy this kit and, in as little as 30 minutes, put together a weapon,” said Biden. 

“I want to see these kits treated as firearms under the Gun Control Act, which is going to require that the seller and manufacturers make the key parts with serial numbers and run background checks,” said Biden. 

Next he referred to a report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in 2000 that investigated firearm trafficking in America. 

“Today with online sales and ghost guns, times and trafficking methods have changed, and we have to adjust,” said Biden. 

“We also have to ask the Justice Department to release a new annual report. This report will better help policymakers address firearms trafficking as it is today, not what it was yesterday.”

A third change seeks to treat pistols that are modified with stabilizing braces with the “seriousness they deserve.”

“Essentially, it makes that pistol a hell of a lot more accurate and a mini-rifle. As a result, it’s more lethal,” said Biden. 

Biden explained that these modifications made firearms far more lethal than they should be according to the National Firearms Act. 

He also reiterated his support for “red flag” laws, which allow police or family members to petition a court in their jurisdiction for temporary removal of someone’s firearm. 

Lastly, he appointed a director for the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agency which hasn’t had a permanent director since 2015. 

The President nominated David Chipman who has been with the agency for 25 years. 

“I’ve said before: My job, the job of any President, is to protect the American people.  Whether Congress acts or not, I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal as President to keep the American people safe from gun violence,” said Biden. 

Biden detailed what he believes to be the duty of congress on this issue moving forward. 

“I believe the Senate should immediately pass three House-passed bills to close loopholes that allow gun purchasers to bypass the background checks,” said Biden. 

“The vast majority of the American people, including gun owners, believe there should be background checks before you purchase a gun.”

The President made his belief that gun violence is not a partisan issue clear. 

“This is a view by the American people as an American issue,” said Biden. “I’m willing to work with anyone to get these done. And it’s long past time that we act.”