Congress must act to pass gun control legislation in the wake of two horrific mass shootings, President Joe Biden said Sunday, adding that while he will continue to push for gun reform, it’s ultimately up to the House and the Senate.
“I can’t dictate this stuff,” Biden said Sunday, speaking to reporters as he stepped off Air Force 1 on the White House’s South Lawn after arriving back in Washington, D.C., from a trip to Texas to meet survivors and families of victims of the Uvalde school shooting Tuesday.
Biden said he will continue to take “any executive action I can,” but noted only Congress can pass legislation to make specific changes to background check requirements or outlaw weapons altogether.
Biden said that after meeting people who were affected by the shooting in Uvalde, he will “continue to push” for gun reform, but said that because he hasn’t spoken to Republicans, he can’t detail anyl gun control legislation that could pass Congress.
However, he said mass shootings in the U.S. have “gotten so bad” that lawmakers are getting “more rational about it,” echoing statements made by other Democrats and Republicans over the weekend.
Biden called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) ”rational Republicans” (both reportedly indicated they are open to bipartisan reform on guns).
“The Second Amendment was never absolute,” Biden said. “You couldn’t buy a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed.” The president added that for some guns, there’s “no rational basis for it in terms of self protection, [or] hunting.”
On Tuesday, 19 students and two teachers were shot and killed at Robb Elementary School by a gunman in Uvalde, Texas, 10 days after a shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, left 10 dead. There were 61 active shootings in the U.S. in 2021, up from 40 in 2020, according to the FBI. More than 45,000 people were killed by gun violence last year, compared to 43,671 in 2020 and 39,581 in 2019. The Justice Department announced Sunday it had launched an investigation into law enforcement’s handling of the Uvalde shooting.
In Photos: President Biden Visits Uvalde To Pay Respects To School Shooting Victims (Forbes)
Key Democrats Say Texas School Shooting Could Mark Turning Point On Gun Control (Forbes)