(Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star via AP) ORG XMIT: VAWIN101

Richard Luscombe, The Guardian

President Biden to call for stronger gun laws during Buffalo visit

Joe Biden will visit a makeshift memorial at the Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York, this morning before meeting privately with survivors and families of the 10 people killed in a mass shooting on Saturday.

The president and first lady Jill Biden also plan to speak with first responders and local officials before Biden delivers remarks at a nearby community center at lunchtime calling on Congress to pass stricter gun laws, as well as urging Americans to reject racism.

Talking to reporters aboard Air Force One just now, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden was outraged by the shooting, and gave a preview of his address: 

The president will call this despicable act for what it is, terrorism motivated by a hateful and perverse ideology that tears at the soul of our nation.

He will call on all Americans to give hate no safe harbor and to reject the lies of racial animus that radicalize and divide us and led to the act of racist violence we saw on Saturday that took the lives of 10 Americans. 

President Biden will call on Congress to take action to keep weapons of war off our streets and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and people who have a serious mental illness that makes them a danger to themselves or others.

It remains to be seen if there is renewed appetite in the Senate for stronger gun laws in the wake of the Buffalo shooting and similar recent deadly hate attacks, including one at a California church on Sunday.

Republicans have repeatedly blocked efforts to introduce measures overwhelmingly popular with the US public. Jean-Pierre said:

We’re going to continue to call on Congress to expand to expand background checks, renew our ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and confirm Steve Dettelbach to head the ATF [bureau of alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives].

Biden made gun controls a plank of his election campaign, but has been frustrated by a divided Congress. Last month, he announced plans to crack down on so-called “ghost guns”.

Derrick Johnson, president of the national association for the advancement of colored people (NAACP) said the president’s visit to Buffalo was more than an exercise in grieving:

It’s important for him to show up for the families and the community and express his condolences. But we’re more concerned with preventing this from happening in the future.

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