By Kevin Deutsch
President Joe Biden Monday called on Americans to “keep each other safe” on the fourth anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, urging lawmakers to pass legislation requiring “background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers.”
“On February 14th, 2018, a gunman stole the lives of 14 students and three educators [at MSD],” Biden said in a statement issued by the White House. “It was the deadliest high school shooting in a nation with far too many of them, and it left another community—and our country—shattered by grief.”
Biden called the anniversary “difficult” and said, “We mourn with the Parkland families whose lives were upended in an instant; who had to bury a piece of their soul-deep in the earth.”
“We pray too for those still grappling with wounds both visible and invisible. And…we also stand with Americans in every corner of our country who have lost loved ones to gun violence or had their lives forever altered by a shooting.”
Biden said he has put forward a comprehensive plan to reduce gun crime that includes curbing the proliferation of “ghost” guns, cracking down on gun dealers who willfully break the law, issuing model “extreme risk” protection order legislation for states, and promoting safe firearm storage, among other efforts.
“I’ve asked Congress to pass a budget that provides an additional half-billion dollars for proven strategies we know reduce violent crime—accountable community policing and community violence interventions,” the president said. “I have also requested increased funding for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals. And Congress must do much more—beginning with requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers.”
He also highlighted a silver lining amid Parkland’s grief, calling out the generation of young, eloquent activists who found their voices fighting gun violence in the wake of the attack.
“Together, this extraordinary movement is making sure that the voices of victims and survivors and responsible gun owners are louder than the voices of gun manufacturers and the National Rifle Association,” the president said.
“We can never bring back those we’ve lost. But we can come together to fulfill the first responsibility of our government and our democracy: to keep each other safe. For Parkland, for all those we’ve lost, and for all those left behind, it is time to uphold that solemn obligation.”
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- Kevin Deutsch is an award-winning crime journalist and author. A graduate of Florida International University, Kevin has worked on staff at The Miami Herald, New York Daily News, and The Palm Beach Post.
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