Does Joe Biden have the backbone to take on gun lobby? Pressure grows on US President to overhaul firearms laws after Texas school shooting
- US President Joe Biden held an address after a school shooting in Texas
- On Tuesday, 19 children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School
- Biden vowed to tighten gun ownership laws in response to the massacre
Pressure was mounting on Joe Biden last night amid growing calls to crack down on US gun laws in the wake of the latest mass school shooting.
Teenage gunman Salvador Ramos bought two high-powered assault rifles before embarking on his murderous rampage.
US officials said obtaining them from a store near his home in Texas was no problem for him and it was the ‘first thing’ he did when he turned 18 and was legally able to do so.
In a sombre address to his grieving nation in the hours after the massacre, the US President demanded that the country finally find its ‘backbone’ on the issue of gun ownership.
He added: ‘As a nation we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name are we going to do what has to be done? It’s time to act.’
Leading the nation in mourning, a visibly distraught Mr Biden vowed to overcome the US gun lobby and find a way to tighten gun ownership laws to end the ‘carnage’.
US President Joe Biden spoke to the nation after the mass shooting at a school in Texas, he called for more action on gun ownership laws
Salvador Ramos killed more than 20 people in a devastating attack on The Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday
The shooter, who was 18, posted pictures of his assault rifles online, which he was able to buy by himself
But the President has been trying to restrict gun access for much of his political career.
The pro-gun lobby and the Republican senators they support have relentlessly blocked his efforts.
Recent attempts in Congress to expand background checks have failed to get past the Senate, where Democrats need at least ten Republican votes to pass their bills.
Opponents say any moves to curtail gun ownership would infringe on the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution, which protects the right to bear arms.
Prominent US human rights lawyer Qasim Rashid called on Mr Biden to use his executive powers to enact tougher measures – and let the opposition take him to court.
‘Force the [Republicans] to litigate their barbaric view that terrorists should have easy access to guns,’ he wrote on Twitter. ‘We’re well past the time to act. Let’s get this done now.’
Last night Mr Biden said: ‘It’s time for those who obstruct or delay or block the common sense gun laws, we need to let them know that we will not forget.
‘We can do so much more. We have to do so much more.’
President Biden appeared emotional as he called for more to be done to change gun laws in the country
The Texas shooting is the latest in a string of school massacres and came just ten days after a deadly rampage by an 18-year-old gunman at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.
It is also the deadliest shooting at a US school since a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012.
The Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, appeared emotional as he announced the deaths of 19 children and two teachers on Tuesday.
Salvador Ramos was shot dead by a Border Patrol agent after killing 22 with an assault rifle
But he has moved to ease rather than tighten controls, signing a wide-ranging state law last year that allowed Ramos to purchase his lethal weapons at 18, lowering the minimum age from 21 in certain circumstances.
And in October 2015, Mr Abbott chastised Texans because more guns were being bought in liberal California. ‘I’m EMBARRASSED: Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA,’ he tweeted. ‘Let’s pick up the pace Texans.’
The governor is also due at the annual convention of the country’s leading gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, in nearby Houston this week.
He is due to speak alongside Donald Trump and Texas senator Ted Cruz, who has already pushed back on calls for restrictions, saying people will use the latest shooting to attack the right of the people.
Attacking constitutional gun rights ‘is not effective in stopping these sort of crimes’, he added.