Biden Says Most of US Thinks Owning Military Style Guns ‘Bizarre’

Last Updated: March 28, 2023, 23:43 IST

File photo of US President Joe Biden. (Image: Reuters)

Biden expressed exasperation that Congress won’t end legal ownership of semi-automatic rifles, like the popular AR-15, and said he was powerless to do more

President Joe Biden said Tuesday in the wake of the latest school shooting that most Americans think owning the types of military-style rifles regularly used to carry out such massacres is โ€œbizarre.”

โ€œThe majority of the American people think having assault weapons is bizarre, itโ€™s a crazy idea. Theyโ€™re against that,” he told reporters at the White House when asked how to respond to the incident in Nashville, where a heavily armed former student gunned down three nine-year-old children and three staff before being killed by police.

Biden expressed exasperation that Congress wonโ€™t end legal ownership of semi-automatic rifles, like the popular AR-15, and said he was powerless to do more.

โ€œI have gone the full extent of my executive authority to do on my own anything about guns. The Congress has to act,” he said. โ€œI canโ€™t do anything except plead with Congress to act reasonably.”

Biden noted that a ban on so-called assault weapons had been passed with his help as a senator back in the Bill Clinton administration in 1994. โ€œThe last time we passed an assault weapons ban, violence went down,” he said.

That ban ended civilian use of some semi-automatic weapons and also ammunition magazines holding 10 or more rounds, which allow the shooter to keep firing for longer without reloading. The ban expired after 10 years and was not renewed.

There are more firearms in private circulation in the United States than there are people. AR-15s, which resemble weapons carried by US soldiers but cannot be fired on full automatic mode, are especially sought after by gun enthusiasts.

Bidenโ€™s push for a ban has little chance of traction in Congress, where Republicans are fully opposed. According to an ABC News/Washington Post poll in February this year, 47 percent of Americans support a ban, but 51 percent are opposed โ€” a drop of nine points in support since a similar poll in 2019.

There were more than 24 million AR-15 style weapons in circulation in the United States by mid-2022, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation firearm trade association.

According to a Washington Post/Ipsos survey of gun owners, around one in 20 American adults, or around 16 million people, are thought to own at least one AR-15 type rifle.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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