After a new series of gun killings, Joe Biden renewed a call on Tuesday, January 24 to ban or at least restrict access to assault rifles, asking Congress to act ” fast “.
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“The scourge of gun violence in America demands stronger action”said the American president, after seven people lost their lives last Monday in a shooting in Half Moon Bay (California), the second in two days to hit the community of Asian origin in this western state.
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Condemning this “new senseless act of violence”, the 80-year-old Democrat mentions two bills introduced on Tuesday by three senators from his party. One aims to outright ban the marketing of assault rifles “military type”. The other, more modest, aims to increase from 18 to 21 the legal age to buy an assault rifle in the United States.
“I again call on both houses of Congress to act quickly and send this assault rifle ban bill to my desk” for ratification, writes Joe Biden.
Biden still calls for an assault rifle ban
The American president has been calling for a long time, in vain, to restore in the United States a ban on assault rifles, as it existed between 1994 and 2004, but he comes up against the opposition of the Republican Party, which arises in defender of the constitutional right to possess arms. Since the beginning of the year, the Conservative Party has controlled one of the houses of Congress, which makes an outright ban unlikely.
On Saturday, a 72-year-old Asian man armed with an assault rifle burst into the Star Ballroom Dance Studio in Monterey Park, California, where he fired 42 bullets and killed 11 men and women, all over the age of 50.
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49,000 killed in 2021
On Monday, 600 kilometers north of there, in Half Moon Bay, another individual, also of Asian origin, killed at least seven Chinese agricultural workers on two farms. Shootings, whether in shops, places of worship, in the street, in stadiums or schools, punctuate daily life in the United States. From now on, the number of victims must be particularly large or the circumstances particularly striking for them to arouse national media interest.
Around 49,000 people died from gunshot wounds in 2021 in the United States, compared to 45,000 in 2020, which was already a record year. This represents more than 130 deaths per day, more than half of which are suicides.