Joe Biden Calls On Congress for Gun Reform Laws On Anniversary of Parkland Shooting: ‘Time to Act Is Now’

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Virginia Chamlee
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Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty President Joe Biden

On the three-year anniversary of the Parkland school shooting Sunday, President Joe Biden called on Congress to enact "commonsense" gun laws, such as those banning assault weapons and requiring background checks on all gun sales.

Biden, 78, said in a statement that his administration's policy is aimed at making schools and communities safer by enacting laws to reduce gun violence.

"Three years ago today, a lone gunman took the lives of 14 students and three educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida," Biden said in a statement. "In seconds, the lives of dozens of families, and the life of an American community, were changed forever."

Noting how some Parkland students turned their grief into calls for action, Biden said they "and so many other young people across the country who have experienced gun violence are carrying forward the history of the American journey."

"This Administration will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call," Biden continued. "We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer."

Biden's statement went on to detail the gun law reforms he wants Congress to enact, which include "requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put weapons of war on our streets."

"We owe it to all those we've lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change," his statement continued. "The time to act is now."

The February 14, 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School — perpetrated by a then-19-year-old former student of the school — led to the deaths of 17 teenagers and adults.

The anniversary of the Parkland shooting — among the deadliest in U.S. history — reawakened calls for gun reform legislation. The incident also sparked the national March for Our Lives movement to curb gun violence.

The movement, which inspired rallies and marches throughout the country, seeks legislation "to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country."

Though attempts to pass stricter gun laws have been stymied in recent years by some Republicans in Congress, Democrats—who now control the House, Senate, and presidency—have recently appeared more optimistic about passing new legislation.

RELATED: Gun-Violence Survivors Share Stories of Shattered Lives — and How They're Working for Change

"I'm feeling more confident than I have been at any time in the United States Senate about gun violence legislation," Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democratic lawmaker from Connecticut, told CNN in a recent interview.

Blumenthal also said he hopes Congress will take up gun reforms within a "few weeks," following the passage of a proposed $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

In her own statement coinciding with the Parkland shooting anniversary, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said House Democrats would work with senators and the Biden-Harris administration to pass a set of background check bills.

The Speaker vowed the House "will enact these and other life-saving bills and deliver the progress that the Parkland community and the American people deserve and demand."

Pelosi, 80, pledged that she and her Democratic colleagues would "join the American people to renew our commitment to our unfinished work to ensure that no family or community is forced to endure the pain of gun violence."

"We will not rest until all Americans, in schools, in the workplace, in places of worship and throughout our communities are safe, once and for all," Pelosi said.