President Joe Biden reiterated his call to pursue a ban on assault weapons following the latest mass shooting at a Walmart in Virginia and said it’s “sick” that the U.S. continues to sell semiautomatic weapons.
“The idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick. It’s just sick. It has no social redeeming values. Zero. None. Not a single, solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturer,” he said Thursday during a stop at a fire station in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
The chance of a ban actually making its way through Congress is all but impossible now that Republicans have control of the House of Representatives and the need for any legislation to get 60 votes to break a filibuster in the Senate. The president, however, said that will not stop him from trying.
“I’m going to try. I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons,” he said.
The remarks come after a string of mass shootings thrust the issue of gun reform back to the national fore.
The killing in Virginia and a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Colorado have renewed calls by advocates for tighter gun laws, such as a ban on assault weapons like the AR-15.
Biden has been unable to cobble together the bipartisan support needed to get a bill to his desk.
Biden also made brief comments on negotiations on a contract deal between railroad companies and unions to help avoid a strike but said he couldn’t talk about what is holding up each side from reaching a deal.
“I have not directly engaged yet,” Biden said, though his team remains in touch with all the parties involved.