We hope you are having the beautiful summer you deserve. With June already a distant memory, The Speak team is grateful to reconnect and share
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Good morning. Over the course of my career I have seen gun violence up close. I’ve looked at autopsy photographs I’ve seen with my own two eyes. What a bullet can do to the human body. I’ve held hands. With the hands of parents who have lost a child.
I have seen children who are traumatized by the loss of a parent or sibling. And I have fought my entire career to end this violence and to pass reasonable gun safety laws. Time and again as progress has stalled. We’ve all asked. What are we waiting for?
’cause we aren’t waiting for a tragedy. I know that. We’ve had more tragedy than we can bear. We aren’t waiting for solutions either. ’cause the solutions exist. They already exist.
People on both sides of the aisle. Want action real people on both sides of the aisle want action? So all that is left. Is the will? And the courage.
To act. And President Joe Biden has the will and the courage to act. As a United States, Senator Joe Biden took on the gun lobby, not once, but twice, and he won in 1993. He worked to pass the Brady Handgun Violation Prevention Act. This law established a background check system and has kept more than three million firearms. Out of the hands. Of dangerous people.
A year later, he worked to pass another law to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines for 10 years. And as Vice President Joe Biden led the Obama Biden administration’s efforts to reduce gun violence. In fact, we were just reminiscing that he and I talked back then about his work because I was attorney general at the time of California. An his work resulted in nearly two dozen actions from narrowing the gun show loophole to expanding funding for mental health services. And as you will hear in a moment.
President Joe Biden is a leader with great will, great determination, and even greater empathy. He has seen the grief of all of those who have lost a loved one to gun violence. It is for them. For all of us that he will never ever give up on this fight, and it is now my great honor. To introduce the president of the United States, Joe Biden.
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Thank you, Madam Vice President.
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Thank you very much. You know we’re joined today by the attorney General. Merrick Garland, who I’ve asked to prioritize gun violence. It’s also good to see the second gentleman. Who is here? And it’s good to see the first lady Doctor Jill Biden.
Who cares deeply about this issue as well? And I look out there and I see so many members of Congress who’ve LED in this fight. So many of you have never given up so many of you are absolutely determined as murfin and brothers are to get this done. We got a long way to go, which seems like we always have a long way to go. But also today we’re taking steps to confront not just the gun crisis, but what is actually a public health crisis.
Nothing, nothing. I’m about to recommend in any way impinges on the 2nd Amendment. They’re phony arguments suggesting that these are Second Amendment rights at stake from what we’re talking about. But no amendment nor member to the Constitution is absolute. You can’t yell crowd, you can’t yell fire in a crowded movie theater.
We call a freedom of speech. In the very beginning you couldn’t own any weapon you wanted to own from the very beginning of the Second Amendment existed. Certain people weren’t allowed to have weapons, so the idea is just bizarre to suggest that some of the things we’re recommending or contrary to the Constitution. Gun violence in this country is an epidemic. Let me say it again.
Gun violence in this country is an epidemic,
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and it’s an international embarrassment. You know we saw it again last night as I was.
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Coming to the Oval Office. I got the word that in South Carolina. A physician. With his wife, two grandchildren and a person working at his house. Was gunned down all 5. So many people, so many people sitting here today know that well.
Unfortunately, you know, they know what it’s like. When the seconds change your life forever. I’ve had the. Pleasure of getting to meet an awful circumstances. Many of you, many of you have lossed.
Your children, your husbands, your wives, you know. They know what it’s like to Bury a piece of their soul deep in the earth. We understand that. Marcan Jackie I want to tell you. It’s always good to see you, but not under these circumstances.
I want to say before I introduce the rest of the folks. As you know what a lot of people have not been through, what they’ve been through, don’t understand it takes a lot of courage to come to an event like this. They are absolutely, absolutely determined to make change. But Mark and Jackie, whose son Daniel, was a first grader in Sandy Hook Elementary School or Daniel loves sports, loves outdoor sports. Getting money.
I see my friend Fred Guttenburg. His daughter Jamie was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She was an accomplished dancer. I see Brandon Wolf. Or the shooting at the at the at the impulse at the Pulse Club, not nightclub. He survived, but his two best friends died.
Greg Jackson, who was just walking down the street when he was caught in Crossfire gun fight. And of course I see a close friend of Jill’s inmind, Congresswoman Gabby Gifford, who is here who was who was speaking with her constituents in front of a grocery store in our state when she was shot and a member of her staff was killed. You know? They are here. And their pain is immense.
And you know what? A lot of you. Hopefully many of you don’t know. As you’ve gone through a trauma. No matter how much you work to make sure others don’t go through it.
Every time he showed an event like this, it brings back. When you got that phone, call. It brings back the immediacy of what happened at that moment. So I genuinely mean it. Thank you. Thank you for having the courage, the courage to be here.
The courage to continue this fight. Senator Blumenthal understands it. A lot of the folks out here understand it. But it takes real courage, so thank you. To turn pain into purpose and demand that we take the action that gives meaning to the word enough.
Enough enough, enough. Because what they want you to know what they want you to do is not, just listen. Every day in this country. 316 people are shot every single day. 106 of them die every day.
Our flag was still flying at half staff for the victims of the horrific murder of eight primarily Asian American people in Georgia. When ten more lives. Were taken in a mass murder in Colorado. You probably didn’t hear it, but between those two incidents less than one week apart, there are more than 850 additional shootings. 850 that took the lives of more than 250 people.
And left 505 hundred injured. This is an epidemic for God’s sake, and it has to stop. So I’m here to talk about two things. First, the steps we’re going to take immediately and 2nd the action that needs to be taken. Going forward to curb the epidemic of gun violence.
I asked the attorney General and his team to identify for me immediate concrete actions I could take now. Without having to go through the Congress. And today I’m announcing several initial steps my administration is taking to curb this epidemic of gun violence. Much more need be done, but the first first one to rain in the perforation of so-called ghost guns. These are guns that are homemade built from a kid and include directions and how to finish the firearm.
You can go by the kit. They have no serial numbers. So when they show up at a crime scene, they can’t be traced. And the buyers aren’t required to pass a background check to buy the kit. To make the gun. Consequently, anyone anyone from a criminal to a terrorist?
Can buy this kit as little as 30 minutes. Put together a weapon. You know I want to see these kids treated as firearms under the Gun Control Act, which is going to require that the celerin manufacturers make the key parts with serial numbers. And run background checks on the buyers when they walk in to buy that package. The section action were the second action we’re going to take.
Back in 2000 year 2000, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms released a report on its investigation into firearms trafficking in America. The report was a pivotal values of important tool for policy makers when I was in the Senate and beyond at all levels. To stop firearms from being illegally diverted into dangerous hands today with online sales and ghost guns. Times and trafficking methods have changed and we have to adjust. We also have to ask the Justice Department to release a new annual report.
This report will better help policy makers address firearms trafficking as it is today, not what it was yesterday. A third change we want to treat pistols modified with stabilizing braces with the seriousness they deserve. A stabilizing brace looking a pencil essentially. Makes that pistol a hell of a lot more accurate and a mini rifle. As a result, it’s more lethal.
Affectively turn it into a short barreled rifle. That’s what the alleged shooter in Boulder appears to have done. Want to be clear? That these modifications to firearms that make them more lethal should be subject to the National Firearms Act. The National Firearms Act requires that a potential owner paid $200 fee and submit their name and other identifying information to the Justice Department.
Just say they would if they went out and purchased a silencer for a gun. Fourthly during my campaign for president. I wanted to make it easier for states to adopt extreme risk protection order laws. They’re also called red flag laws, which everybody in this lawn knows, but many people listening do not know. These laws allow a police or family member to petition a court in their jurisdiction and say I want you to temporarily remove from the following people any firearm they may possess. Because there are danger in a crisis, they’re presenting a danger to themselves and to others.
And the court makes a ruling. To put this in perspective, more than half of all suicides, for example, involve the use of a firearm. But when a gun is not available. An attempt at suicide. The death rate drops precipitously.
States that have red flag laws have seen. And see the reduction in the number of suicides in their states. Every single month, by the way, an average. Of 53 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner. I wrote the violence Against Women Act.
It’s been a constant struggle to keep it moving. We know red flag laws can have significant effect in protecting women from domestic violence. And we know red flag laws can stop mass shooters before they can act out their violent plans. I’m proud excuse the point of personal privilege. We used to say in the Senate.
I’m proud that the red flag law in my home state of Delaware was named after my son, attorney General, Beau Biden, our son. Excuse me, Jill. Who proposed that legislation back in 2013? I want to see a national red flag law. And legislation through incentivize states to enact their own red flag laws.
Today I asked the Justice Department to publish a model red flag legislation so states could start crafting their own laws right now. Just like with background checks, the vast majority of Americans support these extreme risk protection order laws and it’s time to put these laws on the books and protect even more people. The Attorney general will have more to say about this in a moment. Additionally, we recognize the cities across the country. Experience historic spikes in homicides as the law enforcement can tell you.
The violence is hitting black and Brown communities the hardest. Homicide is the leading cause of death of black boys and men ages 15 to 34. The leading cause of death. But there are proven strategies that reduce gun violence in urban communities. And there are programs that demonstrated they can reduce homicides up to 60%.
In urban communities, but many of these have been badly underfunded or not funded all of late. Gun violence in America. For those you think of this from an economic standpoint, listening to me, estimated to cost the nation 280 billion. Miss it again $280 billion a year. You see, how could that be?
Joe hospital bills? Physical therapy. Trauma counseling, legal fees prison costs. And the loss of productivity. Not to mention a psychological damage done to the children who live in these cities watching this happen.
Knowing something when it happened too. This gun violence in our neighborhood is having profound impact. On our children, even if they were never involved. And pulling the trigger. Or being the victim of’s on the other side of it.
For a fraction of the cost of gun violence, we can save lives. Create safe and healthy communities and build economies that work for all of us. And save billions of American dollars. In the meantime. Much of it as their silly nose is.
Taxpayer money. Finally. The Bureau of Alcohol, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The key agency enforcing gun laws hasn’t had a permanent director since 2015. Today I’m proud to nominate David Chipman to serve as a director of the FT. David knows Afti well he served there for 25 years. And Vice President Harrison, I believe he’s the right person at this moment for this important agency.
I’ve said before. My job, the job of any president to protect the American people. Whether Congress acts or not. I’m going to use all the resources at my disposal as president, keep the American people safe from gun violence. But there’s much more the Congress can do.
To help that effort. And they can do it right now. They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers. Members of Congress. But they passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence.
Enough prayers. Time for some action. I believe the Senate should immediately pass three house passed bills. To close loopholes that allow gun purchases purchasers to bypass the background checks. The vast majority American people, including gun owners, believe there should be background checks before you purchase a gun.
As was noted earlier. Hundreds of thousands of people have been denied guns because of the background checks. What more would have happened? These bills one require background checks for anyone purchasing a gun at a gun show. Or an on line sale.
Most people don’t know you walk into a store and you buy a gun. You have a background check. But you go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want and no background check. Second thing is to close the chart with Merinos with Charleston loophole. Like people here, I spent time down that church in Charleston.
What happened is. Someone was allowed to get the gun used to kill those innocent people at a church service. If the FBI. Hasn’t come, didn’t complete the background check within three days. There’s a process.
It went down in three days according to the Charleston loophole you get to buy the gun. They bought the gun and killed a hell of a lot of innocent people who invited him to pray with them. And three. Reauthorize the violence Camps Human Act.
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Which is so called clothes. The boyfriend and stalking loopholes to keep guns out of the hands of people.
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Found by a court. To be an abuser and continuing threat. I held over 1000 hours of hearings to pass the violence Against Women Act. And one thing came through. If in fact a stay away order. An order. Preventing.
The abuser from coming in a certain distance. Of the person he has abused or she is abused. And now. The idea that they can own a weapon when they have a court order. Saying they are an abuser.
These are some of the best tools we have right now to prevent gun violence and save lives. All these bills. They had supported both Democrats and Republicans in the House. And Universal background checks are supported by the vast majority of American people, and I might add the vast majority of responsible gun owners. So let me be clear.
This is not a partisan issue among the American people. This is a view by the American people as an American issue. And I’m willing to work with anyone. To get these done. And it’s long past time that we act.
Now I know this has been a hobby horse of mine for a long time.
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Got it done once. We should also ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines in this country. So that 10 years we had it done.
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The number of mass shootings actually went down. Even law enforcement officials. Have told me and told other champions of this legislation. They sometimes feel outgunned. Buy assault weapons with large capacity magazines. There’s no reason someone needs a weapon of war with 100 rounds, 100 bullets.
That can be fired. From that weapon. Nobody needs that. Nobody needs that. We got that done when I was United States Senator was an easy going up against the gun lobby, but it saved lives. And we should also eliminate gun manufacturers from the immunity they received from the Congress.
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You realize, again, the people here because they’re so knowledgeable is on there and the Rose garden.
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But while peace, the people don’t realize the only industry in America a billion dollar industry. That can’t be sued. Has exempt from being sued. Or gun manufacturers. Imagine how different it would be. Had that same exemption been available to tobacco companies.
Who knew who knew and lied about the danger they were causing the cancer caused in the like? Imagine where we’d be. But this is the only outfit. That is exempt from being sued. If I get one thing on my list, Lord came down and said Joe, you get one of these.
Give me that one. Because I tell you what? There would be a come to the Lord moment. These folks would have real quickly. But they’re not. They’re not, they’re exempt.
I know that the conversation about guns in this country can be a difficult one. But even here. There’s much more common ground than anyone would believe. There’s much more common ground. Everything that’s being proposed today is totally consistent with the 2nd Amendment.
And there’s a wide consensus behind the need to take action. I know that when overwhelming, majorities Americans want to see something change will affect their lives and it still doesn’t change. It can be demoralizing to our fellow citizens. You can feel like our entire political process is broken. I know it’s painful and frustrating that we haven’t made the progress.
That we hope for. But it took five years to get Brady. Bill passed, and it took even more years to work to pass the assault weapons ban. And it’s saved lives no matter how long it takes. We’re going to get these past.
We’re not going to give up. We have an opportunity to fulfill the first responsibility of government to keep our people safe. And in the process we can show the world and show ourselves that democracy works. We can come together and get big things done. And I look around and see such brave survivors sitting out here in the Rose Garden, public servants who devoted their lives to dealing with this advocates who feel strongly in her pushing every day to make the rational changes.
And courageous parents and family members. I know the progress even in this most difficult of issues is possible. So folks. This is just the start. We got a lot of work to do.
But I know almost every one of you sitting in his garden here. None of you ever given up. We’re not going to give up now. The idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America. Is a blemish on our characters and nation.
We saved all of you. God bless you, but most importantly, the memory of all. Many of you have loss to the senseless gun violence. And now I’d like to hand it over to the attorney general. For him to speak and make some comments and hope I get a chance to see somebody after this is over.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you, Mr. President and Madam Vice President,
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we stand here today, not at a moment of tragedy, but in the midst of an enduring tragedy. So far this year, guns have taken the lives of an estimated 11,000 of our neighbors, friends, and fellow Americans. As the president explained. Gun deaths in our country are occurring at a staggering pace on the order of about 100 Americans killed every day, with hundreds more wounded. I am under no illusions about how hard it is to solve the problem of gun violence.
Anne, I know that the Department of Justice alone cannot solve the problem. It is a problem that we must all work on together in a collective effort to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and save lives. But there is work for the Department to do an. We intend to do it. Today, the Department of Justice is announcing several steps that we will take to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and reduce the risk of gun violence.
First, we will ensure that we understand an measure, the problem of criminal gun trafficking in a data driven way. Over 20 years ago, ATF undertook a gun trafficking study. It then issued a report that provided information necessary to better understand and to combat criminal trafficking networks. No such study has been conducted since that time. Accordingly, I have directed ATF to begin work on an updated study of criminal gun trafficking, one that will take into account the fact that modern guns are not simply cast or forged anymore, but can also be made of plastic printed on a 3D printer or sold in self assembly kits.
We will evaluate how some of our best tools, including the national integrated Ballistics Information Network and the National Tracing Center are keeping up with the times. And we will analyze our criminal cases and investigations to determine what they can show us about modern gun trafficking patterns. We expect that the lessons from this study will help agents, prosecutors, and policy makers tackle modern criminal gun trafficking enterprises. 2nd. We will close a regulatory loophole that has contributed to the proliferation of so-called ghost guns.
Federal law requires that manufacturers mark all firearms with serial numbers so they can be traced if they’re used in crimes. It also requires licensed firearms dealers to run background checks to ensure that individuals who are barred by law from purchasing firearms cannot do so. The emergence of ghost guns threatens both of these important law enforcement objectives. Currently, individuals can buy kits that contain all or almost all of the parts they need to assemble a gun. They can put a working weapon together in as little as 30 minutes.
The kits are aptly called by build shoot kits. Yet, because of a gap in the ATF regulations, these kits may not be considered firearms. As a result, they are being made and sold without serial numbers and sold without background checks. Within 30 days, ATF will issue a proposed rule to plug that gap. And to enable law enforcement to trace crime guns and to keep guns from being sold to those who cannot lawfully possess them.
3rd we will make clear that statutory restrictions on short barrelled rifles apply when certain stabilizing braces are added to high powered pistols. Federal law requires the taxation and registration of all short barreled rifles. It does so because these weapons are powerful, yet easily concealable. Currently, however, some manufacturers market and some individuals purchase certain kinds of stabilizing braces that, when attached to a pistol, affectively converted into a short barreled rifle, a weapon that is, in the words of the statute, quote intended to be fired from the shoulder. Such braces make high powered pistols more stable.
An accurate while still concealable. Within 60 days, ATF will issue a proposed rule that will make clear that when a device marketed as a stabilizing device affectively turns a pistol into a short barreled rifle, it is subject to the requirements of the statute. 4th we will publish Model Red Flag legislation for states. Red flag laws. As the president has explained, allow family members or law enforcement to petition for court orders that temporarily bar people in crisis from accessing firearms if they present a danger to themselves or to others.
19 States and the District of Columbia have already made this important step. Within 60 days the Justice Department will publish model legislation that will make it easier for states that want to craft laws permitting such emergency risk orders to do so. 5th we will empower our communities to combat and prevent gun violence. We all recognize that although law enforcement plays an important role in gun, violence is not a problem that law enforcement alone can solve. Communities are an essential partner, an asset and a source of resources and ideas.
Those who are closest to the problem are critical. Part of solving the problem. To that end, the Justice Department will make available over $1 billion in funding through over a dozen grant programs that can be used to support evidence based intervention strategies
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for reducing gun violence. Such strategies include, but are not limited to,
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St Outreach Violence Interrupters and hospital based violence intervention services. I have directed all of our grantmaking components to make Community violence, intervention and prevention prevention a priority. Finally, none of these measures or any of the other critical law enforcement work the Department does with respect to illegal guns can be effectively carried out without strong leadership. That is why the President has nominated David Shipman to be the next ATF director. Mr. Chipman has come up through the ranks spending 25 years in the trenches fighting illegal gun trafficking and criminal enterprises. His extensive experience as an ATF agent will prove invaluable, and I look forward to working with him.
Looking out at many of you. Is not only a reminder of the tragic toll. That gun violence takes on our communities. But also of the resilience and determination that it will take to make our communities safer. The Department of Justice shares your commitment and that of the President and of the vice president to stopping the plague of gun violence and saving the lives of those we love. Thank you. I wasn’t supposed to do that.
I’d like to see all of you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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Let’s get to work.
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