President Joe Biden has vowed to take “common-sense steps” to crack down on firearms following two mass shootings in the US in less than a week.
He renewed his call to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and urged Congress to pass bills that would end loopholes in background checks.
Mr Biden was speaking a day after 10 people were shot dead in a Colorado grocery store. Eight people were killed inside spas in Georgia last week.
But the president has an uphill task.
The right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.
While Democrats have called for stricter gun control measures in the aftermath of mass shootings, many conservatives, including former President Donald Trump, see any restrictions as infringing on this constitutional right.
‘Should not be a partisan issue’
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save the lives in the future, and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Mr Biden said at the White House on Tuesday.
He pointed to the fact that, as a senator, he helped bring in a ban on assault weapons in 1994, which expired a decade later. “It brought down these mass killings. We should do it again,” he said.
“This is not and should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue. It will save lives. American lives. And we have to act,” he said.
Mr Biden urged the Senate to approve two pieces of legislation passed by the House of Representatives, which are aimed at expanding and strengthening background checks on gun buyers.
But Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said that while they were “open to the discussion”, Republicans in the chamber were not in favour of the two measures.
“One thing we do know for sure is that these shooters are invariably mentally incapacitated,” he said. “This is a vexing problem that is extremely hard to identify in advance.”
The US Senate is currently split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with the vice-president holding the casting vote. However, because of Senate rules (known as the “filibuster”), in practice 60 votes are needed to get legislation through, so some Republican support is required.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters the president was “considering a range” of executive measures to tackle gun violence that would not need the approval of Congress. She did not specify what action he might take.
- 5 feared dead, 15 injured in accident on Accra-Tema motorway
- #FixTheCountry agitators have no leaders – Barker-Vormawor
- Wesley Girls’ SHS ‘no fasting” policy, strictly for health reasons – Old students
- Ghana’s 4x100m men’s relay team set to pitch camp in Europe ahead of Olympics
- Woman allegedly murders elder sister over a piece of land
- Companies continue to export rosewood to China despite ban – Inusah Fuseini
- Ramadan: UDS Dean of Education condemns Wesley Girls SHS management
- Over 200 police personnel deployed to enforce mining directives across Ghana
- Claims of fasting affecting health unfounded – Islamic Medical Association, Ghana
- Seek economic assistance from IMF to save economy from troubles – Finance Lecturer
Woman breaks record as she delivers 9 babies at a goal
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa: Earlier generations used our secondary school system to foster unity
CAF postpones FIFA World Cup African qualifiers
Australian mother convicted of killing her 4 children petitions for a pardon
NSMQ 2021: Presec beats Achimota, Chemu and Odorgonno SHS to be crowned Regional Champions
Ghana Rising: Outlook on Ghana’s promising future as a 21st Century economy
GNAT urged to provide affordable housing scheme for teachers
I have been running from the Elder position for almost 3years – Sam George
263 died through road accidents in April alone – MTTD reveals
Chelsea “feel good” about facing Man City in Champions League final – Thomas Tuchel
Kofi Tweneboah: #FixTheCountry – This is your chance to take a stand, fellow youth
Playback: NSMQ 2021: Legon Presec, Achimota and Odorgonno battle for Greater Accra Regional supremacy
Bright Simons joins Salzburg Global’s Board of Directors
Don’t depend on your children when you retire, it’s a “money mistake” – EDC boss
#FixTheCountry: Any Ghanaian who has a problem with campaign must have citizenship revoked – Sam George