President Joe Biden (D.) attacked the gun industry in his first remarks since the shooting at a Texas elementary school.
The President blamed gun makers for the murder of 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday. He said the mass shooting should motivate Americans to pass new gun restrictions.
“As a nation, we have to ask when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” Biden said.
The comments come just hours after news of the massacre broke. It also comes just over a week after a shooter killed ten people at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. President Biden also called for new gun control measures in response to the Buffalo shooting.
As he did in the wake of the Buffalo shooting, the President advocated for an “assault weapons” ban to address the issue of mass shootings. The President did not elaborate on details of a ban but it would likely include AR-15s, the most popular rifle in the country.
“What in God’s name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone?” Biden said. “Deer aren’t running through the forest with kevlar vests on, for God’s sake. It’s just sick.”
He further claimed, without citing evidence, that the previous federal assault weapons ban decreased the number of mass shootings. He said its repeal led to a tripling of mass shootings. A 2020 Rand Corporation review of studies found it is “uncertain” what effect, if any, assault weapons bans have on mass shootings.
Biden said the growth in popularity of AR-15s and similar guns was due to industry advertising efforts. He blamed their proliferation for the continued mass shootings throughout the country, noting other countries do not experience the same frequency of those kinds of attacks.
“The gun manufacturers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons which make them the most and largest profit,” he said. “For God’s sake, we have to stand up to the industry.”
Biden said he understood what the loss of a child is like and offered his condolences to the victims’ families.
“To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away,” he said. “There’s a hollowness in your chest. You feel like you’re being sucked into it, and you’re never going to be able to get out.”
But he said now is the “time to turn this pain into action.”
“I am sick and tired of it,” Biden said. “We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact.”
He said Americans would not forget those who opposed new gun laws in the wake of the attack.
“It’s time for those who obstruct or delay or block the common-sense gun laws; we need to let you know we will not forget,” Biden said. “We can do so much more. We have to do more.”
Despite being controlled by the President’s party, the House of Representatives has not brought an assault weapons ban up for a vote since he was sworn in. The evenly-divided Senate has not considered a ban during that time either.