Biden says Second Amendment 'was never absolute' in gun control push

2022-05-31 15:16:19Xinhua Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that the Second Amendment to the nation's constitution "was never absolute" in gun control push.

"The idea of these high-caliber weapons is of -- there's simply no rational basis for it in terms of thinking about self-protection, hunting," Biden told reporters after arriving at the White House for Memorial Day events. "You couldn't buy a cannon when the Second Amendment was passed."

The remarks came as the national debate over gun control renewed by the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, last week that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- ratified in 1791 -- protects the right to keep and bear arms and has been a subject of debate on gun rights.

Biden said it's up to Congress to act more profoundly on assault weapons and gun sales, saying that "I can't dictate this stuff."

"I can do the things I've done and any executive action I can take, I'll continue to take. But I can't outlaw a weapon. I can't change a background check. I can't do that," he explained.

Asked if he is optimistic about getting a deal to combat gun violence after Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said last week that he had tapped his colleague, Senator John Cornyn from Texas, to negotiate with Democrats, Biden replied, "I don't know."

"McConnell is a rational Republican. Cornyn is as well. I think there's a recognition on their part that they -- we can't continue like this. We can't do this," he said.

Biden and first lady Jill Biden traveled to Uvalde on Sunday to meet with families of the victims and survivors of the massacre that took place on May 24. The gunman used an AR-15-style rifle, a popular range of semiautomatic weapons, to carry out the attack.

The United States has over 20 million AR-15-style rifles legally in circulation, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a national trade association for the firearm industry.

That accounts for only a small percentage of the roughly 400 million guns in the nation -- but the popularity of AR-15-style rifles has been growing significantly ever since a federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004. 


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