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US president makes impassioned plea for ban on assault weapons

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By Mark Armstrong  with AFP
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US Representative Greg Steube (R-FL) pulls out a weapon from his private arsenal during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control.
US Representative Greg Steube (R-FL) pulls out a weapon from his private arsenal during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control.   -   Copyright  AFP

In light of the shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers, Biden has implored the nation’s lawmakers to raise the age limit to buy assault-style weapons from 18 to 21.

"We need to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines," he said. 

"And if we can't ban assault weapons, we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21, strengthen background checks, enact safe storage laws and red flag laws, repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability, [and] address the mental health crisis."

"These are rational, common-sense measures," Biden implored.

In the US, at least 45,222 people died from gun-related injuries in 2020, and the country has seen at least 233 mass shootings in the first half of this year alone, according to the gun violence archive.

Gun ownership has consistently been a very emotive and politically charged issue in the US due to the country's Bill of Rights' second amendment providing all citizens with the right to bear arms, which some believe is outdated while others maintain it guarantees their freedom of self-defence.

This has led to many, especially Republicans, baulking at the idea of any red tape or attempts to ban even the most dangerous firearms, like automatic assault weapons.

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control, Florida Republican Greg Steube, who was participating via video link, took out three weapons from his arsenal and displayed them to the camera. 

When asked by a Democrat if they were loaded, he replied, "I'm in my own house, I can do whatever I want with my guns." In such an atmosphere, Biden's common-sense measures may not be sufficient.