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U.S. President Joe Biden makes a statement in the aftermath of the Boulder, Colorado, shootings in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. Source: Stefani Reynolds/Reuters.
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  • The second U.S. mass shooting in less than a week has put new pressure on President Joe Biden to deliver on the gun control promises he made as a candidate
  • He called on the Senate to approve two bills passed by the House on March 11, which sought to broaden background checks on gun buyers
  • Spokeswoman Jen Psaki added that Biden is also “considering a range” of executive actions, which do not require the approval of congress
  • The added pressure comes after 10 people were killed on Monday at a supermarket in Colorado, just six days after eight people were shot and killed at Atlanta-area day spas
  • Biden pledged during his presidential campaign to enact further gun safety measures, but has been largely preoccupied with economic stimulus and vaccine rollouts

The second U.S. mass shooting in less than a week has put new pressure on President Joe Biden to deliver on the gun control promises he made as a candidate.

He called on the Senate to approve two bills passed by the House of Representatives on March 11, which sought to broaden background checks on gun buyers. Biden also called for a ban on assault-style weapons.

“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 I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” he said at the White House on Tuesday.

Spokeswoman Jen Psaki added that Biden is also “considering a range” of executive actions, which do not require the approval of congress.

Biden pledged during his presidential campaign to enact further gun safety measures, but — after taking office in January — has been largely preoccupied with economic stimulus and vaccine rollouts.

“I’ve beaten the National Rifle Association nationally twice, passed meaningful gun legislation at the federal level, and I’ll do it again,” he said last year.

“As president, I promise you I will get these weapons of war off the street again,” he added, referring to a national ban on assault-style weapons that lapsed in 2004.

Activists say executive actions that Biden could take include strengthening background checks, providing money to cities to fight gun violence, and regulating the market for “ghost guns” — partially assembled firearms that are not subject to the same rules as most.

According to research from RAND Corp, the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of civilian gun ownership and a gun fatality rate consistently much higher than other rich nations.

Non-profit research group Gun Violence Archive recorded more than 43,000 gun-related deaths in the U.S. last year alone.

The added pressure to reel in gun violence comes after 10 people were killed on Monday when a lone gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, just six days after eight people were shot and killed at Atlanta-area day spas.

Majority leader Chuck Schumer also weighed in, pledging on Tuesday that the Senate would do more than it had in the past.

“This Senate will be different. This Senate is going to debate and address the epidemic of gun violence in this country,” he said on the chamber floor.

No timing has been given for any legislation, and it’s not known if a ban on assault weapons would be included.

The U.S. has a long history of mass shootings — the worst of which in recent years was an attack in Las Vegas in 2017, which killed 58 people and injured hundreds more.

Despite their regularity, lawmakers have so far taken little action, thanks largely to sweeping opposition from congressional Republicans and the powerful National Rifle Association, who argue that the right to “bear arms” is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

Still, almost 70 per cent of Americans are in favour of adding “strong or moderate” federal gun restrictions, with proposals like more detailed background checks and databases to track ownership gathering even greater public support.

“The only place this issue does not have bipartisan support is in Washington, D.C., in the Senate,” said Shannon Watts, founder of influential gun safety group Moms Demand Action.

“We know that gun safety is a policy priority for the president and his administration, but there are executive actions that could be taken today.”

Any new gun control measures taken by Biden would almost certainly face legal challenges, which could reach the Supreme Court where a six-three conservative majority is considered sympathetic to an expansive view of gun rights.

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