President Biden on Monday praised a contingent of Senate Democrats who earlier in the day introduced a pair of bills to ban military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines as well as raise the age of purchasing them to 21 years old.
Biden cited recent shootings across the U.S., including those at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colo., and in Monterey Park, Calif., in which both gunmen used similar style weapons.
Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Chris Murphy (Conn.) introduced bills one day after a gunman shot and killed 11 people at a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park.
The Senate bills intend to prohibit the “sale, transfer, manufacture and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines” and raise the age to buy assault weapons from 18 to 21, according to a statement by Feinstein.
Biden noted that Feinstein joined him in 1994 when the Senate passed an assault weapons ban that prohibited such sales for 10 years. Congress has been unable to pass anything similar since that bill expired in 2004.
Biden has long been vocal in urging Congress to take up an assault weapons ban, even though neither chamber has enough votes for such a measure to pass.
Nonetheless, Biden continues to advocate for a bill to get to his desk.
“The majority of the American people agree with this common sense action,” he added. “There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our children, our communities, and our nation.”
Biden signed a bipartisan gun safety bill into law over the summer in the wake of a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., and at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
The law strengthened background checks for gun buyers between the ages of 18 and 21, makes obtaining firearms through straw purchases or trafficking a federal offense, and clarifies the definition of a federally licensed firearm dealer.
It also closed the “boyfriend loophole” by preventing those convicted of a misdemeanor crime of violence involving a current or former romantic partner from possessing a firearm for at least five years.
In her statement, Feinstein noted the shooting at a Lunar New Year celebration in her home state.
“The constant stream of mass shootings have one common thread: they almost all involve assault weapons. It’s because these weapons were designed to kill as many people as quickly as possible,” Feinstein said. “They have no business in our communities or schools. It’s time we stand up to the gun lobby and remove these weapons of war from our streets, or at the very least keep them out of the hands of young people.”