President Biden said Tuesday the shooting in Colorado that left 10 people dead this week drives home the need for Congress to enact stronger gun control laws.
Mr. Biden called on lawmakers to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and urged them to close “loopholes” in the nation’s background check system for gun purchases.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Mr. Biden said at The White House. “We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again.”
Mr. Biden‘s remarks came in the wake of the shooting Monday at King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, six days after a deadly shooting at Atlanta-area spas that left eight people dead.
The shootings have intensified the national debate over gun laws.
Mr. Biden said he is waiting to get more details about the shooting and the motives behind it, but said Congress must act now.
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He called on the Senate to immediately take up House-passed measures that seek to expand background checks for gun buyers.
“We can close the loopholes in our background check system,” Mr. Biden said. “That is one of the best tools we have right now to prevent gun violence.”
Mr. Biden said he and First Lady Jill Biden are “devastated” by the shootings.
He said they mourn for the families that have loved lost ones and said their hearts go “out for the survivors, who had to flee for their lives.”
Mr. Biden praised first respondents and noted that the victims in Colorado included Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley - a father of seven who died after responding to the shooting.
“He thought he’d be coming home to his family and his seven 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,” Mr. Biden said. “That is the definition of an American hero.”
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The suspect - identified as Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa - was charged Tuesday with 10 counts of first-degree murder.
A law enforcement official briefed on the shooting told The Associated Press that the gunman used an AR-15 rifle.
Democrats earlier this year introduced legislation called ‘‘Assault Weapons Ban of 2021’’ that seeks to ban the sale of the semi-automatic rifle.
Authorities have not shared whether they know the motive.
Mr. Biden also directed the flags at the White House to be flown at half-staff in memory of the victims at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder.
“This is not, it should not be, a partisan issue,” Mr. Biden said. “It is an American issue. It will save lives - American lives. We have to act.”