President Biden called on Congress to enact sweeping gun control legislation on Sunday, marking three years since the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.
A student murdered 17 people during the 2018 shooting in Parkland, Fla., and police officers who responded to the incident were criticized for failing to enter the school to stop the shooting. The incident also spurred passage of a state law that allows teachers to carry firearms in school.
“Today, as we mourn with the Parkland community, we mourn for all who have lost loved ones to gun violence,” Biden said in a statement on Sunday. “We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer.”
Biden added, “Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.”
Biden in 1994 argued in favor of legislation banning assault weapons that was passed as part of his “crime bill,” the Violent Crime and Law Enforcement Act. The legislation banned various firearms it classified as “assault weapons,” including semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines, as well as magazines able to hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. However, the ban expired in 2004 in accordance with the legislation’s sunset clause.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris clashed on the issue of gun control during the Democratic primaries. Harris pushed to enact gun control measures via executive order, while Biden urged gaining the support of Congress for such legislation.