On Monday, President Joe Biden released a statement on rampant gun violence across the country, saying it was turning America into “killing fields.” He also talked about signing the first major federal gun safety legislation in more than three decades.
Biden’s signature on gun safety marks an important start, but he acknowledged that more needs to be done to reduce the alarming number of shootings.
“Now’s the time to galvanize this movement because that’s our duty to the people of the nation. That’s what we owe those families in Buffalo, where a grocery store became a killing field. That’s what we owe those families in Uvalde, where an elementary school became a killing field. That’s what we owe those families in Highland Park, where on July Fourth, a parade became a killing field,” the President started.
“That’s what we owe all those families represented here today and all over this country the past many years across our schools, places of worship, workplaces, stores, music festivals, nightclubs, and so many other everyday places that have turned into killing fields.”
Biden received the families of the victims of the Columbine shootings in Highland Park at a White House event to celebrate the federal gun safety legislation signed into law in June. The latest law is the most important to tackle gun violence since the ban on assault weapons expired 28 years ago in 2004.
The President also acknowledged that the law fell short of what he and his party were advocating to stop the number of shootings in the country.
“It will not save every life from the epidemic of gun violence, but if this law had been in place years ago, even this last year, lives would have been saved,” said Biden. “It matters. It matters. But it’s not enough and we all know that.”
During his speech, Biden was interrupted by Manuel Oliver, whose son was killed in the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Since then, Oliver has criticized the government’s crackdown on gun violence, saying the new gun safety law doesn’t go far enough.
At the event, the President said he had spent so much time with the victims’ families over the years that he had become “personal friends” with them. Biden also thanked the families for advocating for tougher gun control measures. He praised them for their activism in the face of loss and for making a difference.
“I especially want to thank the families that Jill and I have (met), many of whom we sat with for hours on end, across the country,” he said. “There’s so many we’ve gotten to know who’ve lost their soul to the epidemic of gun violence. They’ve lost their child, their husband, their wife.”
“Nothing is going to fill that void in their hearts. But they led the way so other families will not have the experience and the pain and trauma they’ve had to live through.”
The bill, titled The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, was introduced by Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Democratic Senators Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
The bill was created in response to the mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York.