Biden says he’s not shirking gun agenda in favor of economy, COVID-19

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President Biden said Friday he’s not shirking gun control in favor of other priorities like the economy and COVID-19 and vowed to press forward on the issue.

“I’ve never not prioritized this,” Mr. Biden said at a Rose Garden event when asked if he felt a need to re-prioritize his agenda.

The president pointed out that he helped shepherd a 10-year ban on assault-style weapons when he was a senator and that he took executive actions last week, including directing the Justice Department to look at regulating so-called “ghost guns” that can be made from kits.

“The Congress has to step up and act, the Senate has to act, and I strongly support — never stopped supporting the ban on assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 bullets,” Mr. Biden said. “It doesn’t mean that I can’t also be working at the same time on the economy and on COVID. But it’s not a question of my being able to set the agenda in the Senate as to what they will move to first.”

He said there’s a mass shooting “every single day in the United States, if you count all those who are killed out in the streets of our cities and our rural areas.”

“It’s a national embarrassment and must come to an end,” he said. 

Mr. Biden questioned who needs a firearm that can hold 20 rounds.

“It’s just wrong, and I’m not going to give up [until] it’s done,” he said.

The Democratic-controlled House has passed legislation to expand gun-purchase background checks, but the bills don’t have the support to hit the 60-vote threshold to thwart a filibuster in the 50-50 Senate.

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