Biden After Boulder: Ban Assault Weapons, High Capacity Mags

Photo courtesy City of Boulder

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.

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowman says:

    No, Christian, Jesus Didn’t Say You Can Have Your Guns

    The cognitive dissonance of supposed followers of Jesus choosing the side of violence and opposing the movement of mercy is staggering, exceeded only by the contention that Jesus says they can pack heat.

    It’s nonsense and heresy and it’s a full bastardization of his life and ministry.

    There simply aren’t any theological gymnastics wild enough to make it work.

  2. bullshit! says:

    Republicans are so enslaved to the gun lobby that dozens of dead couldn't faze them. I have trouble imagining that 10 dead in Boulder will matter any more.

    It really sucks but it's true.

  3. gertie97 says:

    Does anybody know the definition of “assault'' weapons?''


    • Meiner49er says:

      Assault weapons were developed  during the First World War to increase the firepower of small infantry teams in close quarters where long range rifles were ineffective, i.e., trenches or house-to-house fighting.

      Over the next 50 or so years, their focus shifted from lethality (i.e., killing power), to their ability to inflict grievous if not fatal wounds, as survivors of such required far more medical care than did the dead.

      James Fallows has an excellent chapter on this in his classic book, "National Defense." (1981)

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      I think that if it’s capable of killing 10 people in a grocery store in a matter of a minute or so, in the hands of your average-Joe nutcase, it just might come close to qualifying for the working definition as an “assault weapon”? . . . 

      • Meiner49er says:

        No disagreement here, Dio. The question was asked, so the standard definition offered. My point is that they could be used to far more devastating effect than they have been so far (i.e., the Vegas shooter), which is all the more reason to get them off the streets.

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