NPR reports as President Joe Biden spoke today in response to the mass shooting yesterday afternoon at a King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, Colorado resulting in the death of 10 people, calling for a renewed ban on the sale of the weapon found at the scene of so many gun violence tragedies in recent years: the AR-15 assault rifle and other weapons meeting specific deadly criteria.
President Biden said Tuesday that he and first lady Jill Biden were “devastated” by Monday’s shooting in Boulder, Colo., and called on the Senate to pass to gun bills passed by the House earlier this month that would tighten gun laws.
Acknowledging there is more to confirm about the shooter’s weapons and motivation, Biden said, “I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save lives in the future and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act.”
Biden said assault weapons and high-capacity magazines should once again be banned and that loopholes in background checks should be closed.
“It will save lives,” he said of the House-approved legislation. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he would bring the bills to the floor, but their fate is uncertain in a tightly split Senate.
With respect to limiting magazine capacity and requiring background checks for most transfers of guns, President Biden is only proposing bringing federal law up to Colorado’s standard after landmark (and hard-won) reforms passed in 2013. Given disturbing recent news reports that Colorado’s magazine limit law is being casually disregarded in gun shops around the state, there’s an argument that a federal law is needed to ensure compliance.
As assault weapons ban would go farther than current Colorado law, and would presumably be a new policy informed by the successes and failures of the 1994-2004 federal ban on both assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. It’s worth nothing that yesterday’s shooting, reportedly carried out with an AR-15 type weapon, took place just days after the city of Boulder’s municipal ban on such weapons was overturned.
There will be a lot of policy to talk about when the grieving phase is over. But we’re definitely seeing both the wisdom and the limits of what Colorado has tried to do at the state level to protect our population from gun violence. It may be that Colorado can’t do this alone, and the solutions must cross state lines as easily as the problem.
Giving up is the one option as a society we simply don’t have, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.