Mr. Biden: ‘Let’s fight gun lobby’

The US president urged lawmakers to pass gun control legislation after the Texas elementary school shooting.

“In the name of God, what do people need guns for but to kill people?”, US President Joe Biden said on May 24 after the elementary school shooting in Texas.

“How long are we going to fight gun lobbying?” Biden said, referring to the efforts of gun rights groups in the US. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is considered a powerful lobbyist, having blocked the US Congress from passing gun control bills.

US President Joe Biden speaks about the shooting at the White House on May 24.  Photo: Reuters

US President Joe Biden speaks about the shooting at the White House on May 24. Image: Reuters.

Biden emphasized that he had just visited Asia and that the region had not experienced mass shootings with the same frequency as the United States. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage?” he said. “Why do we keep letting this happen?”

According to a study by the Geneva-based Small Arms Research Foundation, the US has the highest percentage of people owning guns in the world. Small and rural states, where gun ownership is common, dominate the 100 seats in the US Senate, which needs at least 60 votes to pass bills.

Before entering the White House, Mr. Biden pledged to promote gun safety measures to reduce tens of thousands of US gun deaths each year. Biden and other Democrats have proposed broader controls like adding background checks and ending the sale of rifles commonly used in mass killings.

In his May 24 speech, the US President did not name anyone or political parties, but vowed never to forget those who obstructed or delayed the passage of gun control legislation. “We can do more than that,” he said. “We need to work harder.”

Estimated monthly gun sales in the US.  Graphics: NY Times.

Estimated monthly gun sales in the US. Graphics: NY Times.

He ended his speech with a message of condolences to the families of the victims. “Tonight, the fathers and mothers who have lost their children go to bed, trying to figure out why and will they be able to sleep?” Biden said. “How will they explain to the other children? What else will happen tomorrow?”

Suspect Salvador Ramos, 18, attacked Robb elementary school in the city of Uvalde, Texas, USA on May 24, killing 21 people. Ramos was killed by the police on the spot. It was the deadliest school shooting in the United States since the 2012 Sandy Hook school attack, which killed 20 children and six staff members.

Hong Hanh (Theo Reuters)

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