U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday called for a nationwide ban on assault weapons, in the wake of a shooting in Boulder, Colorado, that left 10 people dead, including a police officer.
Speaking from the White House, Biden said, “I don’t need to wait a minute, let alone an hour, to take commonsense steps to save lives.”
He urged members of the House and Senate to act.
“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” Biden said, noting that he worked on similar legislation when he was a senator and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That law was passed in 1994 but was allowed to expire 10 years later.
Biden also called on the Senate to pass measures already passed by the House that would close loopholes in laws requiring background checks on the purchase of guns.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday held a hearing, the first of a series of planned hearings to discuss ways of reducing gun violence.
Biden said his heart goes out to the survivors and the families of the victims of the Boulder shooting.
Authorities have charged 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa with 10 counts of murder in connection with the shooting at a Boulder grocery store on Monday. He is due to appear in court on Thursday.
Investigators have not disclosed any motive for the shootings. Authorities said Tuesday that Alissa purchased an assault weapon six days before the attack.
Among the victims — whose ages ranged from 20 to 65 — was 51-year-old Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley. Talley was among the first to arrive and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was carrying what was reported to be an assault-style rifle. No other officers were injured.
No motive for the shooting has yet been given.
Biden noted that Monday’s attack comes a week after the killing of eight people at three Atlanta-area spas March 16.
Flags in the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C., were already flying at half-staff for those victims.