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What is Biden's proposal on gun control after the last shooting?

In the wake of two mass shootings in less than a week President Biden called on Congress for a ban on assault rifles and tightening gun control laws.

What is Biden's proposal on gun control after the last shooting?
JONATHAN ERNST REUTERS

After a year of what had seemed a lull in mass shootings the past week has launched gun violence in the US into the spotlight once again. On Tuesday the flags at the White House had only been raised to full-staff for the first time in five days when they were lowered again to mourn yet another mass shooting.

On Tuesday, a gunman killed 10 people in Boulder, less than a week after another in Atlanta killed eight. For a second time in a week President Joe Biden took to his role as consoler-in-chief saying “Jill and I are devastated. The feeling — I just can’t imagine how the families are feeling.”

What does Biden want to do on gun control?

"As president I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep people safe," the President said on Tuesday. “We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country, once again.”

Biden had not made gun control a legislative priority during the first two months of his presidency despite campaigning on the issue. In February on the third anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, he spoke about there not being any time to waste. Now his administration will face mounting pressure to follow through with action.

What can Biden do to implement gun control?

Two bills first introduced in 2018 after Parkland are already working their way through Congress, passed by the House earlier this month. Biden called on the Senate to quickly pass them “This is not and should not be a partisan issue,” Biden said at the White House. “It’s an American issue that will save lives, American lives. We must act.”

The two House bills would extend background checks to private sellers and extend the time limit to conduct checks on purchasers closing the ‘Charleston loophole’. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to bring the two measures to the floor for a vote. However, the likelihood of either passing is slim with the Senate split 50-50.

Past efforts to pass gun control has been difficult with Democrats in favor and Republicans largely opposed. Democrats would need at least 10 Republicans to cross the aisle to avoid a likely filibuster.

A lull in the mass shootings

During the pandemic it had seemed that these mass casualty shootings that plague the nation had disappeared from the nightly news reports. However, 2020 was a record year of gun violence. An analysis by USA TODAY shows mass shootings, those involving four or more victims, rose from 417 in 2019 to 611 in 2020.

The trend appears to be carrying over into 2021. As of 22 March, there were 103 incidents so far in 2021. That number is 53% higher than the 1st-quarter average of the past four years. As former President Barack Obama said in a statement "This is a normal we can no longer afford."