Administration

Biden renews call for assault weapons ban, citing Half Moon Bay shootings

President Biden
Greg Nash
President Biden walks to the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday, January 23, 2023 after returning from Rehoboth, Del., for the weekend.

President Biden renewed his call for an assault weapons ban on Tuesday following a shooting in Half Moon Bay, Calif., that left several people dead.

“Even as we await further details on these shootings, we know the scourge of gun violence across America requires stronger action. I once again urge both chambers of Congress to act quickly and deliver this Assault Weapons Ban to my desk, and take action to keep American communities, schools, workplaces, and homes safe,” Biden said in a statement.

Seven people were killed on Monday and one other was injured in two related shootings in Half Moon Bay, a city about 25 miles south of San Francisco. The victims were found at a farm and another agriculture location miles away, authorities said, and police have arrested a 67-year-old suspect. Authorities have said a semi-automatic handgun was found in the suspect’s car.

The president said he has been briefed from his homeland security team on the shooting and his administration will ensure local authorities that they have the full support from the federal government.

He noted that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and other Democrats introduced a federal assault weapons ban on Monday, as well as legislation to raise the minimum age to purchase an assault weapon to 21.

Biden praised the pair of bills on Monday and cited recent shootings across the U.S., including at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., and in Monterey Park, Calif.

The shooter in Colorado Springs in November used an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon. Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said the Monterey Park shooter used a 9-mm caliber semiautomatic MAC-10 assault rifle, according to the Associated Press.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters that the gun used was a “9 mm caliber semiautomatic MAC-10 assault weapon.”

Feinstein, along with Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), introduced the bills one day after the Monterey Park shooting in which a gunman killed 11 people during a Lunar New Year celebration.

Biden has consistently called for an assault weapons ban throughout his time in office. He, along with Feinstein, were in the Senate in 1994 when the upper chamber passed an assault weapons ban that prohibited such sales for 10 years. Congress has not been able to pass another ban or similar bill since that expired in 2004.

Although an assault weapons ban does not have the votes in Congress, especially with a GOP-controlled House, Biden has continued to advocate for one.

He signed a bipartisan gun safety bill into law last summer, which strengthened background checks for gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21 and clarifies the definition of a federally licensed firearm dealer, among other provisions.

Updated at 12:25 p.m.

Tags assault weapons ban Biden Dianne Feinstein gun violence Half Moon Bay Joe Biden
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