Biden calls for action on gun violence prevention on Sandy Hook anniversary
President Biden on Tuesday urged Congress to act on gun violence prevention in remarks commemorating the ninth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
“As a nation, we owe all these families more than our prayers. We owe them action,” Biden said in a video message released by the White House.
He said the Senate needed to quickly pass three House-passed bills, one to extend background checks, another to keep guns out of the hands of abusers and his Build Back Better act that includes a $5 billion investment in community violence prevention and intervention.
“I know our politics are frustrating and can be frustrating and it’s particularly frustrating now. But we can’t give up hope, we can’t stop,” Biden said.
The president mentioned the school shootings in Parkland, Fla., in 2018 and in Oxford, Mich., last week, adding that similar shootings occur in Black and brown communities every day.
The White House unveiled a fact sheet on Tuesday on the work the administration has done to combat gun violence, touting executive orders from the president to reduce the proliferation of ghost guns, which are untraceable guns assembled using parts bought online; regulate stabilizing braces used on firearms and help states enact red flag legislation, among other things.
It also noted that local governments have used funding from the American Rescue Plan, which Biden signed into law in March, towards community violence intervention and hiring more law enforcement officers.
When asked if there are any conversations about a filibuster carve-out to pursue gun legislation, a senior White House official didn’t comment directly.
“I think the president and the direct to camera really speaks to this issue in an impactful way. He shares in the frustration with gun safety advocates regarding the lack of progress made in Congress, and he also talks about the progress made in the past,” a senior White House official said, referring to the video released on Tuesday.
In the video, the president called Sandy Hook, which occurred during the Obama administration when he was vice president, “one of the saddest days we were in office.”
A gunman killed 26 people at the elementary school in Newtown, Conn., in 2012. At the time, Congress failed to pass stronger gun laws, which would have expanded background checks and instituted an assault weapons ban.
The White House didn’t preview actions Biden will take on gun violence prevention in the new year, but a senior White House official said that the administration will “call on Congress to act.”
“No matter how long it’s been, every one of those families relives the news they got that day. Twenty precious first graders, six heroic educators, a lone gunman and an unconscionable act of violence. Everything changed that morning for you and the nation was shocked,” Biden said.
The president said he got to know victims’ families and mentioned they have worked to change the laws and culture around gun violence.
“We came close to legislation, but we came up short. It was so darn frustrating. And it’s still frustrating now for you and me and so many others,” he said.
“We have to keep up the pressure,” Biden added.