President Biden said Thursday that he will press Congress to pass new gun control laws before taking control of the US House of Representatives in January.
Biden told reporters during a press event in Nantucket, Massachusetts that the recent shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Colorado reinforced the need to pass an assault weapons ban.
“The idea that we still allow the purchase of semi-automatic weapons,” Biden said. “It has no socially redeeming value…no single rationale for it other than profit for the gun manufacturers.”
Semi-automatic guns, including handguns and rifles, fire one shot for each pull of the trigger.
Biden said he would push federal lawmakers to ban assault weapons before January when the next Congress takes office and Republicans take control of the House.
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“I’m going to try,” the president said. “I’m going to try to get rid of the assault weapons.”
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Biden said he would engage lawmakers to take a broader look at whether success is possible. At this point, the odds seem long.
Democrats controlled the House by a narrow margin until January. Meanwhile, the Senate is split 50-50 between the two parties. For a gun control package to pass, including a ban on assault weapons, at least 10 GOP supporters would be needed to break the Senate’s filibuster threshold of 60 votes.
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Earlier this year, Biden’s call for an assault weapons ban clashed with Republicans, even as nearly two dozen GOP senators enlisted the help of the gun lobby to advance a bipartisan gun bill.
The political environment is unlikely to ease in January. While Democrats lost control of the House to Republicans, the party retained limited control of the Senate — though not close enough to break an expected filibuster without GOP support.