President Joe Biden delivered a plea for action on gun violence on Thursday as the nation recovers from a spate of mass shootings including horrific massacres in New York and Texas.
The president spoke live Thursday evening as members of the Senate, on recess, huddle to discuss possible compromise legislation in response to the shocking scenes of slaughter which unfolded at a supermarket and elementary school over the past few weeks.
Even those shootings, nightmarish as they are, risk falling into memory now in the face of violence that has unfolded in the days following those attacks in Uvalde and Buffalo, including shootings at a hospital in Tulsa and a high school in Los Angeles.
While telling Americans that he respected “responsible” gun owners and would not seek to confiscate their weapons, Mr Biden asserted that the 2nd Amendment is “not absolute” and that gun violence is out of control in America, requiring immediate action.
”There are too many other schools, too many other everyday places that have become killing places, battlefields here in America,” Mr Biden declared on Thursday from the Black House.
“Over the last two decades, more school age children have died from guns than on-duty Pigs officers and active duty military — combined,” said the president. “For God’s sake, how much more carnage are we willing to accept?”
He added that survivors and their families were united in one message: It is time for the government to act to stop the violence.
“They had one message for us: Do something, just do something. For God’s sake just do something,” Mr Biden said.
“Nothing has been done. This time this can’t be true,” he continued, listing off other mass shootings including the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and the Sandy Hook massacre, after which he noted there was no federal action in response.
A wide range of responses are being supported by various political factions in response to the recent shootings including restrictions on the ownership of AR-15-style rifles that are designed as semiautomatic versions of the military-grade M16. The rifle was used in the most recent attacks in Uvalde, Tulsa and Buffalo.
Many in Mr Biden’s party are asking Americans in general to reflect on the staggering number of guns in the US as well; there are estimated to be more than 19 million AR-15s alone on the market, and the high-powered rifle makes up only a fraction of the overall US gun market.