In the wake of the second-deadliest school shooting in United States history — one of hundreds the country has seen in recent months — President 조 바이든 on Thursday offered an urgent plea to Americans: “How much more carnage are we willing to accept?”
In a primetime address to the nation Thursday night — delivered while many Republicans across the country continue to call for increased school security, rather than increased gun regulations — Biden, 79, called on Congress to reinstate a nationwide assault weapons ban and institute a number of other gun reform measures.
Easy access to high-powered guns, the president said, are to blame for the influx in mass shootings and the countless deaths of people at shopping malls, supermarkets, churches and in elementary schools.
“이 시간,” 바이든이 말했다, “we must actually do something.”
Speaking about his recent trip with first lady 질 바이든 to Uvalde, Texas — where a gunman killed 19 elementary school students and two teachers last month — Biden said the school was like countless other “everyday places that have become killing fields, battlefields here in America.”
The survivors and family members of victims of gun violence, 바이든이 말했다, had one request: “Do something. Just do something. For God’s sake, do something.”
“After Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Charleston, after Orlando, after Las Vegas, after Parkland, nothing has been done,” 그는 계속했다. “이 시간, that can’t be true. 이 시간, we must actually do something.”
Noting that he respects “the culture and the tradition and the concerns of lawful gun owners,” the president made clear that he doesn’t intend to vilify gun owners, nor take away anyone’s guns.
But the Second Amendment, 그는 말했다, “is not absolute.”
Citing new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the president said that guns are now “the number one killer of children in the United States of America” — “More than car accidents. More than cancer.”
“Over the last two decades, more school-aged children have died from guns than on-duty police officers and active-duty military combined,” 그는 말했다. “Think about that: more kids than on-duty cops killed by guns, more kids than soldiers killed by guns.”
The president continued: “For God’s sake, how much more carnage are we willing to accept? How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say ‘enough’? Enough.”
Biden continued his remarks by calling for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines — one that isn’t without precedent, as a similar such ban was passed and signed into law by former President Bill Clinton ~에 1994. (That ban expired under President 조지 여. 부시 ~에 2004, and was not renewed by Congress.)
“We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” Biden said Thursday. “And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21.”
Following the institution of the 1994 ban, 바이든이 말했다, “mass shootings went down.”
“But after Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled,” 그는 덧붙였다. “Those are the facts.”
Biden added a litany of other gun reform measures he would like to see, including stronger background checks, safe storage laws and red-flag laws, a repeal of “the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability,” and a limit to how many rounds of ammunition a weapon can hold at once.
Biden also proposed addressing “the mental health crisis deepening the trauma of gun violence and as a consequence of that violence.”
“These are rational, commonsense measures,” Biden continued, adding a poignant message regarding a Uvalde shooting survivor.
“Imagine being that little girl — that brave little girl in Uvalde who smeared the blood off her murdered friend’s body onto her own face to lie still among the corpses in her classroom and pretend she was dead in order to stay alive,” 그는 말했다. “Imagine — imagine what it would it be like for her to walk down the hallway of any school again.”
As Biden noted in closing his remarks, the House of Representatives has already passed some of the key measures he proposed — though many have stalled in Congress.
지금, 그는 말했다, it’s up to the Senate, which is evenly split among Republicans and Democrats — making gun reform an uphill battle.
“For the children we’ve lost, for the children we can save, for the nation we love, let’s hear the call and the cry,” 바이든이 말했다, in closing. “Let’s meet the moment. Let us finally do something.”
To express your opinion on these proposals to your representatives in Congress, 여기에서 찾아보고 연락할 수 있습니다.: Congress.gov/members