‘He has not afraid of standing up to the NRA. He has done it multiple times,’ White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of Biden.
But, she noted, there is no timeline of changing gun laws.
‘It is a priority to him on a personal level, but I don’t have a, a prediction for you, or a preview for you on a timeline of a package, and certainly not what it will look like and how it goes through Congress,’ she added at her daily press briefing.
On Sunday, Biden used the three year anniversary of the Parkland shooting in Florida to call on Congress to strengthen gun laws, including requiring background checks on all gun sales and banning assault weapons.
‘We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now,’ he said in a statement.
The Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School left 17 people dead, the latest school shooting that shook America including the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007 that claimed 32 lives and the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012.
It’s unclear what steps Congress could or would take even with Democratic control. Opposition to gun control remains fierce among advocates for the second amendment.
But Biden said action couldn’t wait.
‘This administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call,’ the president said.
The confessed school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, who was 19 at the time, was armed with an AR-15-style rifle and fired between 100 and 150 rounds in a rampage that killed 14 students and three adult staff at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Cruz is still awaiting trial.
Biden said Congress must also eliminate ‘immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets.’
Cruz was able to buy the assault rifle legally, despite having known mental health problems.
Even in a country that has grown inured to mass shootings and gun violence, the Florida shooting sparked outrage across the U.S. and prompted fresh demands for firearms control.
But with Donald Trump in the White House and the Republicans controlling the Senate at the time, legislation approved by the Democrats in the House of Representatives went nowhere.
Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said the House would try again.
‘We will enact these and other life-saving bills and deliver the progress that the Parkland community and the American people deserve and demand,’ she said in a statement.
Despite polls finding most Americans in favor of some sort of gun law reforms, successive U.S. administrations have been powerless to pass legislation.
Biden released a statement on the three-year anniversary of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people were killed by a gunman armed with an AR-15 rifle
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered flags be lowered to half staff from sunrise to sunset across the state to honour those who died at Parkland.
‘The Parkland community is resilient in the wake of tragedy, reminding us just how strong and united Floridians can be in the face of such devastating loss,’ the governor said in his proclamation.
The Republican governor also noted some of the school safety measures enacted since the tragedy three years ago, including money to install panic alert systems at schools across the state and to strengthen programs meant to prevent violence before they occur.
The panic alert measure was dubbed Alyssa’s Law, in honour of 14-year-old Alyssa Alhadeff, one of the students killed three years ago.