President Joe Biden has vowed to take ‘common-sense steps’ to crack down on firearms following two mass shootings in the US in less than a week.
He renewed his call to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and urged Congress to pass bills that would end loopholes in background checks.
Mr Biden was speaking a day after 10 people were shot dead in a Colorado grocery store. Eight people were killed inside spas in Georgia last week.
The right to bear arms is protected by the second amendment to the US constitution and is staunchly defended by many conservatives, including ex-president Donald Trump.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save the lives in the future, and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Mr Biden said at the White House on Wednesday, 24 March.
“This is not and should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue. It will save lives. American lives. And we have to act,” he said.
Mr Biden urged the Senate to approve two pieces of legislation passed by the House of Representatives, which are aimed at expanding and strengthening background checks on gun buyers.
Nearly 20,000 Americans died as a result of gun violence in 2020, more than another year in at least two decades, the data showed. Many of these shootings happened in homes and on city streets, and disproportionately affected communities of colour.
Monday’s shooting took place in a busy shopping plaza in Boulder, a north-central Colorado city.
Ten people aged between 20 and 65 years old were killed, including a police officer and father-of-seven Eric Talley.
Local police said they had arrested Ahmad Al Aliwi Al Issa, 21, from Arvada, Colorado, on suspicion of carrying out the shooting.
The attack came less than a week after eight people, including six Asian women, were killed in an attack on three massage parlours in Atlanta, Georgia.
Police there have charged one man, Robert Aaron Long, 21, with multiple counts of murder and aggravated assault.