US Prez calls for ban on assault weapon after shooting in Colorado

US President Joe Biden called for a nationwide ban on assault weapons following a shooting at a supermarket in Colorado that killed 10 people, including a police officer. He urged members of the House and Senate to act. Biden also called on the Senate to pass measures already passed by the House that would close loopholes in laws requiring background checks on the purchase of guns.  The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday held a hearing, the first of a series of planned hearings to discuss ways of reducing gun violence. 

Tighter gun control is overwhelmingly popular with Americans — but Republicans have long stood against what some view as any infringement on their right to bear arms. This month the House of Representatives passed two measures aimed at enhancing background checks and closing a loophole related to a deadly 2015 church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. The bills address a popular premise among American voters — that background checks be required for all US firearm sales, including those at gun shows. But they are unlikely to pass through the Senate, which would require at least nine Republicans to vote for them. The Colorado suspect, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, was in hospital after being shot in an exchange of fire with officers during the Monday afternoon attack on King Soopers supermarket in Boulder, 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of state capital Denver. He is charged with ten counts of murder in the first degree and will be shortly transported to Boulder county jail.

The United States has the world’s highest rate of civilian gun ownership, RAND Corp research shows, and a gun fatality rate consistently higher than other rich nations. There were more than 43,000 U.S. gun deaths last year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Activists say executive actions that Biden could take right away include strengthening background checks, giving money to cities to fight gun violence, and regulating the market for “ghost guns” – partially assembled guns that aren`t subject to the same rules as most firearms. Dozens of shocking mass shootings in the United States over the past decade, including an elementary school attack that killed 26, have failed to spur lawmakers into action on gun control legislation, thanks in large part to opposition from congressional Republicans and the National Rifle Association.

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