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President Biden calls for assault weapons ban and other measures to curb gun violence

President Biden pays his respects at a makeshift memorial outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 29, 2022.
Chandan Khanna
AFP via Getty Images
President Biden pays his respects at a makeshift memorial outside of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 29, 2022.

For the second time in 10 days, President Joe Biden is expected to deliver a prime time address following recent mass shootings to call on Congress to pass legislation aimed at curbing gun violence in the United States.

The speech, announced by the White House on Thursday, is scheduled to be streamed live at 7:30 p.m. EST.

The remarks come the day afterthe 233rd mass shooting in the U.S. this year took place in Tulsa, Okla., that resulted in five people dead including the shooter at Saint Francis Hospital.

This was a week after 19 students and two teachers were killed, and 17 others injured at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

And a little over two weeks after 10 people were killed and three others were injured during a racist attack at a grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y.

Biden previously issued remarks on May 24, regarding the shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde.

"When in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God's name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?" he said.

Since then, other members of his Cabinet have also spoken out in favor of congressional action to enact "common sense gun laws."

"We, of course, hold the people of Tulsa in our hearts but we, of course, reaffirm our commitment to passing common sense gun safety laws," said Vice President Kamala Harris at the top of remarks at an event highlighting federal student loan cancellation for students of the for-profit Corinthian Colleges chain. "No more excuses. Thoughts and prayers are important but we need Congress to act."

On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack echoed the sentiment at the start of a speech at Georgetown University.

"Added to this litany of challenges, the tragic events recently in New York and Texas, where innocent people shopping at a grocery store and children in school were gunned down because we as a nation have not yet summoned the courage to put common sense gun laws into place," Vilsack said.

Biden's options are limited without congressional action

Meanwhile, on the Hill, the House Judiciary Committee held a markup today to advance a series of bills with the goal of getting the package to the floor for a full House vote next week. The package of gun control measures would, among other things, raise the age for buying semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, ban high-capacity magazines and increase background check requirements.

On the Senate side, a deal may be farther away but a bipartisan group of senators led by John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., spent the past week attempting to reach a deal on potential legislation that would address gun violence.

On the table are state incentives to pass red flag laws, updates to school safety protocols, and changes to background checks.

But it is easier said than done. GOP members have historically stood together in opposition to any law that could limit gun rights.

Without congressional action, executive action is limited. Biden has signed a series of executive orders that tackle ghost guns and braces on AR-15 pistols — but such rules can be undone by a following administration, making congressional action the most permanent solution.

When asked by reporters Thursday during Thursday's White House briefing why Biden has not been more actively involved in congressional negotiations, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters "he wants to give it some space."
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Ximena Bustillo
Ximena Bustillo is a multi-platform reporter at NPR covering politics out of the White House and Congress on air and in print.