The president of United States, Joe Biden, denounced this Thursday that his country suffers an “epidemic” of violence caused by firearms, in a ceremony in which he announced limited measures to try to control a problem that until now no president has been able to stop. The announcement coincided with a new shooting that took place this Thursday in Texas and left one dead and four injured.
The president, who has always advocated for greater control of the possession of weapons, has received pressure from his Democratic Party to act after the recent shootings in Colorado and Georgia, now joined by the incident in Texas on Thursday.
“This is an epidemic, for crying out loud, and it has to stop”, Declared the Democratic president in the White House, also referring to the shootings as a “public health crisis.”
Without a likely agreement in Congress to pass comprehensive reform, for example to require a background report for buyers, Biden announced six decrees to try to address the problem.
Biden presented a limited plan to prevent the spread of so-called “ghost weapons” – handcrafted, sometimes with 3D printers – which are impossible to trace in case of being used in a crime.
He also proposed increase regulations for arm supports designed to stabilize the weapon, a device used by the suspect in the Colorado shooting that left 10 people dead.
“Enough of prayers,” he said regarding a problem that causes near 40,000 deaths each year in the country. “The time for action has come”, assured the president that he referred to the situation as an “international shame.”
The president pledged to support the agencies involved in the fight against this type of violence and commissioned a exhaustive report on the problem, a balance that has not been carried out since 2000.
Ban assault rifles
Biden admitted that the debate on the issue of weapons is somewhat difficult in the United States, but assured that there is more ground of understanding than you might think.
The president indicated that His proposals are just a starting point and he called on Congress to legislate to achieve measures such as background checks and end the sale of assault rifles which are often the weapon used in mass shootings.
“We should ban assault rifles and high-capacity magazines,” he claimed.
The democrat declares supporter of stricter background checks for firearms buyers and a ban on military-type rifles, like the AR-15.
But both ideas face a strong resistance in Congress, where the narrow Democratic majorities in both houses make it difficult to process initiatives on this sensitive issue in the United States
The AR-15, a semiautomatic resembling the iconic M16 military rifle, has been the weapon of choice in several mass killings. At the same time, the rifle It is hugely popular with sports shooters and legal gun enthusiasts, symbolizing the ideological division of the country.
In 1994, as a senator, Biden supported a ban on assault rifles. The law expired a decade later and was never renewed, with Republicans lining up in more rigid positions in the face of what they describe as an attack on the constitutional right to bear arms.
Meanwhile, Thursday’s announcements were not well received by Republicans. Alabama lawmaker Robert Aderholt stated that the actions announced by Biden are aimed at “appeasing the radical left and undermining the right to bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment.”
“They want to take away your weapons”, added another Republican congressman, Jim Jordan of Ohio.
In addition to the announced measures, Biden took advantage of his speech at the White House Rose Garden to appoint David Chipman, an advocate for gun control, as head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), una key agency in the fight against gun violence.
Reflecting the lack of political unity around firearm restrictions, the ATF has not had a Senate-confirmed director since 2015.
With information from AFP