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Biden calls U.S. gun deaths a 'national embarrassment' after Indianapolis shooting

PoliticsApr 16, 2021 06:55PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Hundreds gather for candlelight vigil after mass shooting in Boulder Colorado at King Soopers

By Andy Sullivan and Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -President Joe Biden faced increased pressure on Friday to stem gun violence amid a rash of mass shootings across the United States, but he faces an uphill battle to significantly change the country's permissive firearms laws.

The day after a shooter killed eight people and himself at a FedEx Corp (NYSE:FDX) facility in Indianapolis, Biden insisted he could tackle the problem while also pushing a sweeping jobs package and working to rein in the coronavirus pandemic.

"This has to end. It's a national embarrassment," Biden said at a White House press conference alongside Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Biden said Congress should ban military-style "assault" weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines. Biden authored a similar ban in the U.S. Senate that expired in 2004.

White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said earlier in the day that Congress should also allow victims to sue gun manufacturers.

The Indianapolis shooting was at least the fifth such event in as many weeks, an unwelcome return to frequent high-profile violence as many in the nation emerge from a pandemic bubble.

Biden has taken limited steps so far to tighten federal gun regulations, and has called for more money to fight the problem.

He will have to persuade congressional Republicans to agree to take more significant steps. That is a challenge given that previous attempts at legislation have stalled repeatedly over the past decade, even as hundreds of thousands of Americans have died.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives this year passed legislation to expand background checks for gun buyers, But it faces steep odds in the Senate as lawmakers from rural states where gun ownership is widespread wield disproportionate influence.

Democrats and Republicans in that chamber are discussing a possible compromise. Congress has yet to take up Biden's proposed assault-weapon ban, though several states have prohibitions in place.

Opinion polls show broad public support for tighter gun laws.

Gun-control advocates said on Friday that Senate Democrats should be ready to override Republicans if necessary by ditching longstanding rules that require a supermajority to advance most legislation in the chamber. The Senate is currently split 50-50 between the two parties. They also said Biden should demonstrate that the issue is a priority by discussing it in a planned April 28 speech to Congress.

VICTIMS FRUSTRATED

At a news conference organized by The Time is Now Coalition, an advocacy group, several people who have suffered losses from gun violence said on Friday that they were frustrated by the inaction.

"The time is indeed now to act but the time has been now to act for years, for decades," said Peter Read, whose daughter Mary was one of 32 people killed in a mass shooting at Virginia Tech University 14 years ago.

With about 121 firearms for every 100 residents, the United States is by far the most heavily armed society in the world, and the number of gun deaths has climbed steadily in recent years.

Some 43,539 Americans died of gun violence last year, with more than half of those due to suicide, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a research group.

At least 30 people have been killed in U.S. mass shootings in the last month alone. Those events draw headlines, but they typically account for less than 1% of firearms deaths each year.

The Indianapolis shooting came on the heels of deadly shootings at spas in the Atlanta area and a supermarket in Boulder. Police say suspects in those incidents purchased their weapons legally.

Biden earlier this month said his administration would crack down on self-assembled ghost guns and tightly regulate stabilizing braces that effectively turn pistols into rifles. He also said he would make it easier for states to adopt red-flag laws that allow authorities to take gun from people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others.

Those initiatives do not require cooperation from Congress, but they will take time to put in place.

The Department of Justice needs to create a paper trail to show that any rule change was not abrupt or political and has a strong foundation in law to stave off anticipated legal challenges.

Biden calls U.S. gun deaths a 'national embarrassment' after Indianapolis shooting
 

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Comments (17)
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Apr 20, 2021 1:45AM ET
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joe, you're the  embarrassment
Red Riley
Red Riley Apr 18, 2021 1:54PM ET
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he is the biggest embarrassment ever
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 18, 2021 10:47AM ET
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more shootings under Biden. who would've thought lol
Aaron Chaff
AayAayRon Apr 18, 2021 6:14AM ET
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What the activist press won't tell you is that the overwhelming majority of "gun deaths" are suicides, exacerbated this year by the Party of More Lockdowns. And those gun deaths that are homicides are committed primarily by... well, you can look it up for yourself.
President Xi Jinping
President Xi Jinping Apr 17, 2021 4:35PM ET
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Survival of the fittest for republicans.
Feren Nika
Feren Nika Apr 17, 2021 6:08AM ET
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biden era, high price product, rise tax, rise debt, rise living budget, rise home price. how people cannot stress. people in america so stres/deprestion, maniac cowboy.
President Xi Jinping
President Xi Jinping Apr 17, 2021 6:08AM ET
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You werent complaining when all this increased more than ever under every republican incuding trump
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Apr 17, 2021 5:08AM ET
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FREEDOM to carry guns must be all worth it to lose so many precious lives. -- Ppl all over the world think that Americans have a few nuts lose. There's no other country in the world to my knowledge that also has so many lunatics running loose as in America. -- USA has proven to be an undisciplined country from all perspectives. Add so many lunatics running around, add so many pro-Trumpers, and OMG you have a serious mess of a situation that you must not, as a sane person, open to gun carrying. The two things just don't mix. -- When are Americans gonna wake up? There's hope. They didn't reelect the Donald after 4 years of his eye-rolling failures and yet barely half of Americans had woken up. Good luck
Chris Sundo
Chris Sundo Apr 17, 2021 4:59AM ET
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'..hundreds of thousands of Americans have died..' -- geez .. Lives are not worth much in the USA. It's one of the many reasons I don't waste my after-tax savings on travel to the USA. Not been there in many many years ..
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 17, 2021 4:59AM ET
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go back to the hole where you come from
bob shannon
bob shannon Apr 16, 2021 8:56PM ET
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its not guns its mental patients with weapons! what if the victims were poisoned woukd you still address it? its up to these locations to gave better security and be more aware of the surrounding area.
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 16, 2021 8:28PM ET
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another reason for the mass shootings is the mental breakdowns brought by lockdowns
Adrian White
Adrian White Apr 16, 2021 8:28PM ET
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Umm, sure Danny. That's why we see mass shootings happening in every other country that had 'lockdowns' too, right?
Darryl Allen
Darryl Allen Apr 16, 2021 8:24PM ET
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Ban spoons to fight obesity
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 16, 2021 8:24PM ET
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right on!
Adrian White
Adrian White Apr 16, 2021 8:24PM ET
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Darryl and Danny, since when do people use spoons to make others obese against their will? Or to make multiple people obese in a few seconds of rage? Nice try, but failed logic.
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 16, 2021 7:12PM ET
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Biden himself is a national embarrassment!
Marc Gee
MarcG Apr 16, 2021 7:12PM ET
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u going to be the guy taking it in the chest at the next grocery store visit? at the office? at the gym? (it's statistically very likely in your zip code now. and mine. )maybe even on the same daybesides you being off topic, if you have nothing to contribute, stay silent.
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 16, 2021 7:12PM ET
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Biden is a hypocrite. you really think he cares about people's lives? gun control is not about controlling guns, it's about controlling YOU!
perplexed76 .
perplexed76 . Apr 16, 2021 7:12PM ET
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danny Levine  some of you need control
Kenneth nelson
grasshopper Apr 16, 2021 7:06PM ET
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Sniffer is an fool
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 16, 2021 6:02PM ET
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guns don't kiill people, people do
perplexed76 .
perplexed76 . Apr 16, 2021 6:02PM ET
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it's more convinient to do it with an automatic gun for such people
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 16, 2021 6:01PM ET
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Article is blatantly misleading when it reports ``...about 121 firearms for every 100 residents, the United States is by far the most heavily armed....``.   There are much more heavily armed countries in the world when looking at individual gun ownership.  Their stat fails to account for multiple guns per person.  And in countries with even greater gun ownership violent gun crimes are lower proving that the choice of weapon is not the problem.  Restricting does not eliminate the motive.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 16, 2021 6:01PM ET
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The best solution is to encourage every day carry.  Shooting may still happen, but guaranteed the victim count will go down, no more `mass``.
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Apr 16, 2021 6:01PM ET
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Normal people dont want to carry guns every day you brainiac.
Adrian White
Adrian White Apr 16, 2021 6:01PM ET
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Roger, your math doesn't make sense. How can you say "it failed to account for multiple guns per owner" when you quoted "121 firearms for every 100 citizens"? How else can there be more guns than people?
Water Bender
Water Bender Apr 16, 2021 5:48PM ET
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The government is doing the crimes so that you are duped into thinking it is citizens....don't believe it
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 16, 2021 2:42PM ET
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without guns America will turn into those lawless latam counties
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Apr 16, 2021 2:42PM ET
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They have plenty of guns, exported or smuggled from USA.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 16, 2021 2:42PM ET
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Benjamin McIntire  They also have stricter gun controls then the US.  The US isn`t the only manufacturer, so the criminals will always find them somewhere, or even print them these days.
Marc Gee
MarcG Apr 16, 2021 2:42PM ET
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what criminals ? the last 3 guys doing the last 3 mass shootings were not criminals. they just shouldn't have been allowed full autos. stopping unhealthy people from buying guns on a whim has nothing to do with criminals getting them. stop osfucating this. it's pathetic.
 
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