While commemorating on Monday the passage of the first significant federal gun safety legislation in three decades, President Joe Biden contended that the rise in gun violence seen across the country has turned many communities into “killing fields,” CNN has reported.
“Now's the time to galvanize this movement because that's our duty to the people of the nation. That's what we owe those families in Buffalo, where a grocery store became a killing field. That's what we owe those families in Uvalde, where an elementary school became a killing field. That's what we owe those families in Highland Park, where on July Fourth, a parade became a killing field,” the president said during an event at the White House.
“That's what we owe all those families represented here today and all over this country the past many years across our schools, places of worship, workplaces, stores, music festivals, nightclubs, and so many other everyday places that have turned into killing fields,” he continued.
Biden added that “this legislation is real progress, but more has to be done.”
According to the White House, the event was attended by survivors of mass shootings from Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Santa Fe, Uvalde, Buffalo, and Highland Park, as well as “survivors and family members of daily acts of gun violence that don't make national headlines.”
During his speech, ABC News reported that Biden was interrupted by Manuel Oliver, whose son was killed in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“We have to do more than that!” shouted Oliver, who has publicly criticized the gun legislation. “I've been trying to tell you this for years!”
Biden said, “Let him talk,” before continuing with his speech as Oliver was escorted away.
Last month, Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act into law, which aims to prevent dangerous individuals from accessing firearms and increase investments in the country’s mental health system. The legislation includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety, crisis intervention programs, as well as incentives for states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The money can be used to implement and manage so-called “red flag” laws, which allow authorities to remove guns temporarily from people threatening violence.
Furthermore, the bill closes the “boyfriend loophole,” which allowed convicted domestic abusers to purchase firearms if they weren’t married to their partner, even though spouses who perpetrate domestic violence are. There are also significant changes to the process when an individual aged eighteen to twenty-one tries to purchase a gun.
Biden said that he was determined to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, though it would face long odds of passing through Congress given Democrats’ razor-thin majorities in both chambers.
“I'm not going to stop until we do it,” he said.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.