Biden Calls U.S. Gun Violence ‘International Embarrassment’ And Urges Congress To Act


President Joe Biden on Thursday spoke in harsh terms about the severity of U.S. gun violence and expressed impatience at Washington’s inability to pass gun control legislation while announcing executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence.

Key Facts

Biden repeatedly labeled U.S. gun violence an “epidemic” during his remarks to lawmakers and victims of gun violence gathered at the White House Rose Garden, also calling it an “international embarrassment.”

Biden pointed to the fact that a shooting in South Carolina took place just that morning, while also noting the White House flag was “still flying at half-staff” in honor of a shooting in Atlanta last month when a separate shooting in Colorado occurred.

The speech was to tout six actions the White House is taking to combat gun violence, including nominating gun control advocate David Chipman to head up the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and an executive order to regulate “ghost guns.”

Other Biden executive orders direct the Department of Justice to publish model “red flag” bills for state legislatures, propose a rule to regulate stabilizing braces and issue an annual report on gun trafficking, which the administration has called “initial actions.”

But Biden also urged Congress to do their part, calling for the Senate to approve House-passed bills closing gun background check loopholes, as well as an assault weapons ban, stating, “Enough prayers. Time for some action.”

Biden said he is “willing to work with anyone” to get gun control legislation through Congress, though even a member of his own party, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), has said he opposes the House bills.

Chief Critic

“It’s pretty clear more gun control is not the answer to try to reduce violence in our society,” Sen. Steven Daines (R-Mont.) said in a Fox News interview, adding that Biden’s executive orders are “no surprise for a liberal president.”

Crucial Quote

“If done in a manner that respects the rights of law-abiding citizens, I believe there is an opportunity to strengthen our background check system so that we are better able to keep guns away from those who have no legal right to them,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who worked with Manchin on 2013 background check legislation that Manchin has pointed to as a model for any new bill, said in a statement.

What To Watch For

The gun control legislation currently before the Senate, in its current form, is unlikely to pass, especially given that Democrats can’t pass it through budget reconciliation, meaning it would have to get at least 10 votes from Senate Republicans assuming all Democrats vote for it.