President Biden on Thursday said he would try to pass a bill banning assault rifles during the lame-duck session before the next Congress forms, despite long odds due to Republican opposition.
Biden spoke to reporters Thanksgiving morning, coming after a week that saw three mass shootings in the U.S.
Biden said it was “ridiculous” that red flag laws — in which law enforcement officers can seize firearms from individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others — were not being enforced across the country.
“No. 2, the idea … we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redeeming value. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturers,” he said.
Biden said he was “going to try to get rid of assault weapons” during the lame-duck session, but it would depend on whether he has the votes to pass a bill.
“I’m going to do it whenever I — I got to make that assessment as I get in and start counting the votes,” he said.
The House introduced a bill to ban assault weapons earlier this year, but it was doomed with Democrats holding a slim majority in the Senate and most Republicans united against such legislation, making overcoming a filibuster impossible.
The lift for any gun control bill will be even more difficult when the next Congress forms in January, with Republicans taking control of the House.
It has been another dark week for gun violence in America.
On Tuesday night, a gunman opened fire with a handgun inside a break room at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Va., killing six people and injuring at least six others.
Three days before that, a shooter opened fire inside an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., killing five people and injuring at least 25 others.
And less than a week before the Colorado shooting, a student at the University of Virginia shot and killed three other students after they returned from a class field trip.
The violence has rocked the nation once again, just months after a May massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two teachers dead.
After Uvalde, lawmakers in Congress passed a bipartisan gun control bill that expanded background checks for those ages 18 to 21, among other measures.
It was the most significant piece of gun control legislation in about three decades, but it fell short of more comprehensive gun control reforms many activists and Democrats had called for.
Biden, who was a senator when Congress passed a temporary assault weapons ban in 1994, called for another prohibition on assault weapons after Uvalde.