‘We’re Not Finished’: Biden Touts Gun Safety Law, Vows to Ban Assault Weapons

‘We’re Not Finished’: Biden Touts Gun Safety Law, Vows to Ban Assault Weapons
President Joe Biden speaks during the National Safer Communities Summit at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Conn., on June 16, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Emel Akan

President Joe Biden on Friday praised a gun safety legislation that he signed into law last year, stating that it has prevented firearms from falling into the wrong hands and helped save lives.

Speaking at a gun safety summit in West Hartford, Connecticut, Biden promised to take more actions, including banning assault weapons, ending immunity for gun makers, and instituting background checks.

“We will beat the gun industry. We will beat the big money that’s just behind them and the politicians who refuse to stand up and act,” Biden said during the National Safer Communities Summit at the University of Hartford.

Biden’s remarks came on the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Safer Communities Act into law, which expanded background checks for gun purchasers aged 18 to 21 and increased funds for mental health and school security, among other things.

He began his speech by praising the measure, labeling it “the most meaningful gun safety law in 30 years,” but he noted that more needs to be done.

“A year ago, the conventional wisdom was we would never get any Republicans to support gun legislation. Period. That was the conventional wisdom,” Biden said. “We did overcome an unrelenting opposition from gun lobby to gun manufacturers and so many politicians who hide behind the belief that they'll never have to pay a price for their inaction.”

Congress passed the measure with the support of all Democrats and 14 Republicans in the House, and 15 Republicans in the Senate in June last year.

Biden said the bipartisan measure was “an important first step” during his speech. “I know it feels like it isn’t enough when you turn on the news and see another tragedy in school or grocery store or parade or a place in America.”

“We all agree, we are not finished,” Biden added.

The legislation provided states with more than $230 million to expand the use of tools such as red flag laws, which allow the seizure of firearms before people can commit acts of violence.

In March, Biden signed an executive order asking his key cabinet members to submit to him a report detailing their progress toward full implementation of the law within 60 days. He also asked the cabinet members to explain their plans for maximizing the benefits of this legislation.

According to a White House factsheet, the Department of Justice has refused more than 160 firearms sales because of the enhanced background checks for individuals under the age of 21.

Biden reiterated his call for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines during his speech.

“They’re not only a weapon of war, but they’re also the single biggest driver of profits for the gun industry. That’s why they’re selling them,” Biden said.

Biden also called for the end of immunity for gun makers and the implementation of universal background checks.

“Congress needs to act. Let me be clear about something. If this Congress refuses to act, we need a new Congress,” Biden said.

The president also urged states to pass or improve red flag laws.

Emel Akan is a senior White House correspondent for The Epoch Times, where she covers the Biden administration. Prior to this role, she covered the economic policies of the Trump administration. Previously, she worked in the financial sector as an investment banker at JPMorgan. She graduated with a master’s degree in business administration from Georgetown University.
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