Biden presses Congress on gun violence on Parkland anniversary

President Biden speaks from the White House
Associated Press/Patrick Semansky

President Biden is using the fourth anniversary of the fatal shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., to press Congress to enact measures aimed at reducing gun violence in the U.S.

Biden said in a statement on Monday that Congress “must do much more” in its effort to combat violent crime in the country, including requiring background checks on gun sales, prohibiting assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and removing legal immunity for gun manufacturers.

The president also said he has asked Congress to approve a budget that allocates $5 billion more “for proven strategies we know reduce violent crime” and requested more funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals.

“We can never bring back those we’ve lost. But we can come together to fulfill the first responsibility of our government and our democracy: to keep each other safe,” Biden wrote. “For Parkland, for all those we’ve lost, and for all those left behind, it is time to uphold that solemn obligation.”

Fourteen students and three educators died in the shooting at the Florida high school on Feb. 14, 2018.

Nikolas Cruz, who was a 19-year-old student at the school at the time of the shooting, pleaded guilty to all charges related to the shooting in October.

The incident, which was the deadliest high school shooting in the country, sparked the March for Our Lives movement, a youth-led push for ending gun violence.

The issue, however, has stalled in Congress.

Democrats looked to enact gun control legislation last year after a fatal school shooting in Michigan in November, an effort that was ultimately stopped by Senate Republicans.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in December blocked a request to proceed to legislation the House passed in March to expand background checks, again stopping Democrats from moving forward on the issue.

Biden on Monday said his administration “stands with those working to end this epidemic of gun violence.” He said he has proposed a plan to reduce gun crime by stopping the spread of ghost guns and increasing scrutiny of gun dealers that breach laws. He also said his administration’s plan includes “issuing model extreme risk protection order legislation for states, and promoting safe firearm storage, among other efforts.”

The president also said the country mourns with families in Parkland “whose lives were upended in an instant; who had to bury a piece of their soul deep in the earth.”

“We pray too for those still grappling with wounds both visible and invisible. And, as we remember those lost in Parkland, we also stand with Americans in every corner of our country who have lost loved ones to gun violence or had their lives forever altered by a shooting, in tragedies that made headlines and in ones that did not,” he added.

At least 136 incidents involving guns being fired on school grounds were reported between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, The Associated Press noted, citing a tally from nonprofit organization Everytown for Gun Safety.

Updated at 8:59 a.m.

Tags Chuck Grassley Joe Biden

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