The US leader called on Congress to ban assault weapons after the latest mass shooting that killed nine people.
U.S. President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass gun control legislation after another mass shooting at a Texas mall on Saturday left nine people dead, including the gunman.
The Democratic president renewed his call Sunday for Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as impose universal background checks and end immunity for gun makers. While polls show a majority of Americans support background checks, the narrow chances of passing such legislation in the House and Senate are slim.
“Once again, I am asking Congress to send me a bill that bans assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Implements universal background checks. Requires secure storage. Ends immunity for gun manufacturers,” Biden said in a statement .
“I will sign it immediately. We just need to make sure our streets are safe,” he added.
Biden, who has made similar requests before, said the attackers were wearing tactical gear and armed with AR-15-style assault weapons inside the Allen Outlets mall in Allen, a northern Dallas suburb.
“Too many families have empty chairs at the dinner table,” he continued. “Republican congressmen cannot continue to shrug their shoulders at the pandemic. Thoughts and prayers on Twitter are not enough.”
The gunman killed eight people, including children, and wounded at least seven before an officer shot him dead, police said Saturday.
Mass shootings have become commonplace in the United States, with at least 199 so far in 2023, the most for any given year since at least 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit defines a mass shooting as any incident in which four or more people are injured or killed, excluding the shooter.
As of Sunday morning, law enforcement had not released details about the suspect’s identity or possible motive. The victim’s identity has not been released.
“We don’t have any information ready to release right now,” Allen Police Department Sergeant Jonathan Manes told Reuters. “There are a lot of moving parts here.”
As of Saturday, three people were taken to area hospitals in critical condition and four were in stable condition, officials said.
Allen’s tragedy came more than a week after another deadly shooting in the Texas town of Cleveland, reigniting a bitter debate over gun control in the United States.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right to bear arms, an issue that is a flashpoint for many Republicans, backed by millions in donations from gun rights groups and manufacturers.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, called the shooting “devastating” in an interview on Fox News Sunday morning, but said an effective solution to gun violence lies in addressing mental health issues.
“There has been a dramatic increase in anger and violence in the United States,” he said. “We’re trying to address this anger and violence by addressing his root cause, which is the mental health underlying it.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats have emphasized the need to pass stronger gun safety legislation to reduce gun violence.