Democrats say they are pushing toward a vote on expanded gun control measures as the nation reels from its second mass shooting in a week. President Joe Biden said “we have to act,” but prospects for any major changes were dim, for now, in the closely divided Congress. Even still, former President Barack Obama is using his platform to speak out on the issue.
Obama said in a statement that he and former first lady Michelle Obama are grieving with the families of the victims of Monday’s massacre in Boulder, but also said they “are also feeling a deep, familiar outrage” for these types of tragedies.
The statement by the former president came shortly before President Joe Biden publicly commented on the shooting, which took place at grocery store and left 10 dead, including a police officer.
“It is long past time for those with the power to fight this epidemic of gun violence to do so. It will take time to root out the disaffection, racism and misogyny that fuels so many of these senseless acts of violence,” Obama said. “But we can make it harder for those with hate in their hearts to buy weapons of war.”
“We can overcome opposition by cowardly politicians and the pressure of a gun lobby that opposes any limit on the ability of anyone to assemble an arsenal. We can, and we must,” he said.
The attack, which came days after another shooting rampage in Georgia that left eight dead, has renewed calls from lawmakers for federal gun control reform.
During his time in the White House, Obama urged Congress to take up gun control legislation following several mass shootings around the country, though no significant congressional action was ever taken. The former president did issue a series of executive orders aimed at curbing gun violence following the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday called the shooting “absolutely tragic,” but ignored a question about the future of gun control during a swearing-in ceremony for William Burns as CIA director.
Earlier this month, the House passed H.R. 8 that would expand background checks on all commercial gun sales and H.R. 1146 to try and close what’s known as the “Charleston Loophole,” which allows some firearms to be transferred by licensed gun dealers before the required background checks are completed.