Biden Calls for Gun Control: 'The Time to Act Is Now'

By Susan Jones | February 15, 2021 | 5:16am EST
Second Amendment supporters protest new gun legislation at the Utah State Capitol on February 8, 2020. (Photo by GEORGE FREY/AFP via Getty Images)
Second Amendment supporters protest new gun legislation at the Utah State Capitol on February 8, 2020. (Photo by GEORGE FREY/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - The Biden White House on Valentine's Day released a "Statement by the President" announcing "action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer."

"Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets," the statement says.

"We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now."

The Biden White House chose Valentine's Day to make the announcement because that was the three-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a troubled drop-out killed 17 people, 14 of them students.

"In seconds, the lives of dozens of families, and the life of an American community, were changed forever," the statement says. (Read full statement below.)'

'Personal commitment'

Just last week, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters that administration officials held a "virtual discussion" with gun control groups "to discuss our shared goals."

She said President Biden has "a personal commitment" to gun control: "You know, he's obviously taken on the NRA twice and won, and he is happy and eager to do that in the future," Psaki said last Thursday. She also noted that gun sales are setting records.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) already has introduced a bill, H.R. 127, which would impose licensing, training requirements, and fees on would-be gun buyers or gun owners.

The NRA has summarized Jackson's bill, which would:

-- Require licensing for possession of firearms and ammunition (fee not specified);

-- Require additional licensing (cost not specified) to display an antique firearm in the home;

-- Require additional licensing (cost not specified) for possession of "military style weapons”;

-- Require firearm liability insurance with a yearly fee of $800 payable to the U.S. attorney general.

-- Establish a detailed federal firearm registration system to which the public, all federal, state and local law enforcement, all governments, and all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces would have complete access.

Under Rep. Jackson's proposed firearm licensing requirements, gun buyers/owners must be 21, undergo a criminal background check, and complete a minimum 24-hour training course approved by the U.S. attorney general.

Gun owners also would have to undergo a psychological evaluation, and so would other members of the gun owner's household. The psychologist (who would charge a fee, not yet specified) would have to be on a list approved by the U.S. attorney general.

Jackson's bill includes criminal penalties for people who sell, loan or give a firearm or ammunition to another person, unless the person has notified the U.S. attorney general of the sale, loan or gift.

It would be unlawful for a person to transfer a firearm or ammunition to an unlicensed person; unlawful to possess ammunition that is 0.50 caliber or greater; large capacity ammunition feeding devices would be outlawed.

Violations of law would carry heavy fines and prison terms.

Here is the full statement from the Biden White House urging Congress to ban "assault weapons" and impose other restrictions and burdens on gun ownership:

Statement by the President Three Years After the Parkland Shooting
February 14, 2021

Three years ago today, a lone gunman took the lives of 14 students and three educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In seconds, the lives of dozens of families, and the life of an American community, were changed forever.

For three years now, the Parkland families have spent birthdays and holidays without their loved ones. They’ve missed out on the experience of sending their children off to college or seeing them on their first job after high school. Like far too many families, they’ve had to bury pieces of their soul deep within the Earth. Like far too many families — and, indeed, like our nation — they’ve been left to wonder whether things would ever be okay.

These families are not alone. In big cities and small towns. In schools and shopping malls. In churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples. In movie theaters and concert halls. On city street corners that will never get a mention on the evening news. All across our nation, parents, spouses, children, siblings, and friends have known the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence. And in this season of so much loss, last year’s historic increase in homicides across America, including the gun violence disproportionately devastating Black and Brown individuals in our cities, has added to the number of empty seats at our kitchen tables. Today, as we mourn with the Parkland community, we mourn for all who have lost loved ones to gun violence.

Over these three years, the Parkland families have taught all of us something profound. Time and again, they have showed us how we can turn our grief into purpose – to march, organize, and build a strong, inclusive, and durable movement for change.

The Parkland students and so many other young people across the country who have experienced gun violence are carrying forward the history of the American journey. It is a history written by young people in each generation who challenged prevailing dogma to demand a simple truth: we can do better. And we will.

This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call. We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer. Today, I am calling on Congress to enact commonsense gun law reforms, including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets. We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now.

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