In a speech on Thursday, President Joe Biden called for the ban of assault weapons in the United States following several recent mass shootings, including those in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, N.Y.
On May 24, the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde resulted in the deaths of 19 students and two children. Just 10 days before, a shooting at a Buffalo grocery store killed 10 people. And on Wednesday, five people were killed at a hospital in Tulsa, Okla. when a gunman opened fire. During his address, Biden spoke about his visit to Uvalde and the message the victims’ families asked him to communicate: 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,” Biden said. “This time, that can’t be true. This time, we must actually do something. The issue we face is one of conscience and common sense. For so many of you at home, I want to be very clear: this is not about taking away anyone’s guns. This is not about vilifying gun owners. In fact, we believe we should be treating responsible gun owners as an example for how every gun owner should behave. I respect the culture and the tradition and the concerns of lawful gun owners. At the same time, the second amendment, like all rights, is not absolute.”
Biden referred to new CDC research that guns are now the No. 1 killer of children in the U.S., topping auto accidents. “How much more carnage are we willing to accept? How many more innocent American lives must be taken before we say enough?” he asked.
Biden proposed that assault weapons and high-capacity magazines be banned, and urged lawmakers to use common sense instead of voting down party lines.
“We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” Biden said. “And if we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21, strengthen background checks, enact safe storage laws and red flag laws, repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability, address the mental health crisis.”
Watch his full address below.