Biden sees assault weapons ban as ‘rational’ option for gun control

President Joe Biden, pressed on potential avenues for gun control in the wake of the devastating school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, outlined a ban on assault weapons Monday morning.

“It makes no sense to be able to buy something that can fire up to 300 rounds,” he told reporters outside the White House after traveling from Delaware. “The idea of ​​these high caliber weapons – there’s just no rational basis in terms of self-protection, hunting and I guess – and, remember, the Constitution, the Second Amendment was never absolute. You couldn’t buy a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed. You couldn’t go out and buy a lot of guns.”

The president and first lady traveled to Uvalde on Sunday, meeting with first responders and consoling the families of the 19 children and two teachers killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School. He and Jill Biden visited the school and attended mass at a local church, where nearby protesters chanted “Do something.” Biden responded by mouth: “We will.”

President Joe Biden speaks with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday. Saul Loeb / AFP-Getty Images

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Biden said he had “deliberately” not discussed potential legislation with Republicans while consoling families, but noted he expected members of the GOPs are carefully considering potential pathways for change.

A bipartisan group of senators began informal talks last week on gun safety, discussing legislation, including red flag laws that allow police or family members to ask the courts to remove firearms from dangerous individuals. Lawmakers say there is renewed energy around the issue following the deadly massacres in Uvalde and just over a week earlier at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.

“There’s a sense of urgency that we may not have felt before,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Thursday. “So we’ll try.”

On Monday, Biden appeared to credit a federal ban on assault rifles – which expired in 2004 – with reducing the number of gun deaths before, saying, “I know what happened when we had rational action before,” adding that the ban “reduced mass murder.”

“There aren’t many saying it anymore, but there was a time where people were saying, you know, the tree of liberty is watered with the blood of patriots, and what to do , it’s about being able to take on the government when they’re wrong. Well, to do that, you need an F-15, you know? You need an Abrams tank.

So, it’s just, like I say, I think things have gotten so bad that everyone’s getting more rational about it,” he concluded. “At least that’s my hope and My prayer.”

He added that he thinks “there is an awareness on the part of rational Republicans – and I think the senator [Mitch] McConnell is a rational Republican; I think Cornyn is too. I think there’s an acknowledgment from them that they – we can’t go on like this. We can’t do that.”

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