Biden to make primetime gun speech Thursday after string of mass shootings
President Joe Biden will deliver a rare primetime address on tackling gun violence on Thursday evening after a string of mass shootings led to renewed calls for action on gun safety in the United States.
The president will speak at 7:30 pm (2330 GMT) from the White House.
His speech follows high-profile mass shootings in recent weeks at a grocery story in New York, an elementary school in Texas and a medical building in Oklahoma.
Gun safety advocates are pushing Biden to take stronger measures on his own to curb gun violence, but the White House has largely put responsibility on Congress to pass laws that would have more impact.
A U.S. House of Representatives committee on Thursday was working on a bill aimed at toughening national gun laws, though the measure has little chance of passing the Senate.
Biden’s evening address is aimed at putting further pressure on lawmakers to pass legislation and keeping the issue at the forefront of voters’ minds. A broad majority of American voters, both Republicans and Democrats, favor stronger gun control laws, but Republicans in Congress and some moderate Democrats have blocked such legislation for years.
As president, Biden repeatedly has called on Congress to reinstall a ban on assault weapons and pass measures to require universal background checks for those who purchase guns.
In the aftermath of the Texas shooting, he urged the country to take on the powerful pro-gun lobby that backs politicians who oppose such legislation.
The Senate is split, with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, and a law must have 60 votes to overcome a maneuver known as the filibuster, which means any law would need rare bipartisan support.
“The only room in America where you can’t find more than 60% support for universal background checks is on the floor of the U.S. Senate,” said Christian Heyne, vice president for policy at Brady, a gun violence prevention group.