After three back-to-back shootings this week, President Joe Biden condemned gun violence in the U.S. and once again pleaded for tighter gun laws.
On Sunday evening, two people were killed and 28 injured — including many children — in a shooting at a neighborhood block party in Baltimore. On Monday night, five people were killed and two were injured in a separate mass shooting in Philadelphia. Yet another mass shooting occurred at a festival in Fort Worth, Texas, the same night, with three people killed and eight others injured. The tragedies add to the growing list of mass shootings plaguing the country.
“Today, Jill and I grieve for those who have lost their lives and, as our nation celebrates Independence Day, we pray for the day when our communities will be free from gun violence,” Biden said in the statement on Tuesday.
On the anniversary of the 2022 massacre at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, in which seven people died and more than 30 were injured, the president also acknowledged that state’s recent efforts to combat gun violence.
Since the tragedy, Illinois has passed legislation to ban assault weapons — including the one used in the Highland Park shooting — and high-capacity magazines in the state, marking a major win for gun safety.
“Their achievement will save lives. But it will not erase their grief. It will not bring back the seven Americans killed in Highland Park or heal the injuries and trauma that scores of others will continue to carry,” Biden said in the statement. “And as we have seen over the last few days, much more must be done in Illinois and across America to address the epidemic of gun violence that is tearing our communities apart.”
Last year, Biden signed the most significant anti-gun-violence legislation in the past three decades. The landmark Bipartisan Safer Communities Act outlined ways to reduce gun violence in the U.S., including expansions to mental health services and school security, gun purchase restrictions and enhanced background checks for people under 21.
Several Democrats have been avid proponents of anti-gun-violence reforms, including assault weapon bans. But many GOP leaders have resisted gun regulations, despite the sustained surge in gun violence. There have been over 340 mass shootings across the U.S. so far in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Still, Biden and other lawmakers have insisted on more gun reform legislation.
“It is within our power to once again ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, to require safe storage of guns, to end gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, and to enact universal background checks,” Biden said in the statement.
He continued: “I urge other states to follow Illinois’ lead, and continue to call upon Republican lawmakers in Congress to come to the table on meaningful, commonsense reforms that the American people support.”