Biden on Colorado Shooting: ‘I Don’t Need to Wait Another Minute’ to Call for Assault Weapons Ban

By Melanie Arter | March 23, 2021 | 1:45pm EDT
President Joe Biden speaks about the Colorado shootings in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden speaks about the Colorado shootings in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

( – President Joe Biden seized on the mass shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colo., on Monday to call for more gun control legislation, specifically banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

“While we’re still waiting for more information regarding the shooter, his motive, the weapons he used, the guns, the magazines, the weapons, the modifications that have apparently taken place to those weapons that are involved here, 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,” Biden said in a speech at the White House.

“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. It passed. It was law for the longest time, and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again. We can close the loopholes in our background check system, including the Charleston loophole. That's one of the best tools we have right now to prevent gun violence,” he said.

“The Senate should immediately pass – let me say it again - the United States Senate – I hope some are listening - should immediately pass the two House-passed bills that would close loopholes in the background check system. These are bills that received votes with both Republicans and Democrats in the House,” the president said.

“This is not-- it should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue. It will save lives, American lives, and we have to act. We should also ban assault weapons in the process. I will have much more to say as we learn more, but I wanted to be clear. Those poor folks who died left behind families that leaves a big hole in their hearts, and we can save lives increasing the background checks like they’re supposed to occur and eliminating assault weapons and the size of magazines,” Biden said.

The president said he was briefed on the shooting by the FBI Director Christopher Wrap and Attorney General Merrick Garland, and he’s spoken with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.

“We are working very closely with the state and local law enforcement officials and they are going to keep me updated as they learn more,” Biden said, adding that he wouldn’t speculate about what happened and why “because we don't have all the information.”

He praised Officer Eric Talley, the first officer to respond to the shooting at King Soopers store.

“To state the obvious, I commend the exceptional bravery of Officer Eric Talley. I send my deepest condolences to his family, his close, close family of seven children. You know, when he pinned on that badge yesterday morning, he didn't know what the day would bring. I want everybody to think about this,” the president said.

“Every time an officer walks out of his or her home and pins that badge on, a family that they just said goodbye to wonders whether they’ll subconsciously will they get that call, the call that his wife got. He thought he’d be coming home to his family and his seven children. The moment the act came, oOfficer Talley did not hesitate in his duty, making the ultimate sacrifice in his effort to save lives. That's a definition of an American hero,” Biden said.

The president said he would be “talking to you more later today or the next couple of days about what else we know” about the shootings.

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