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President Biden Urges Senate To Pass Bills Closing Loopholes On Background Checks Following Grocery Store Shooting

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)- President Joe Biden held a press conference Tuesday to address the shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder which left 10 people, including a police officer, dead on Monday. The president expressed his and the First Lady's condolences to the families of the victims of the shooting as well as expressing concern for the survivors, who he pointed out, will likely be dealing with the trauma of the event for some time to come.

King soopers shooting boulder table mesa
(Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)

"Less than a week after the horrific murders of eight people and the assault on the AAPI community in Georgia, while the flag was still flying half-staff for the tragedy, another American city has been scarred by gun violence and the resulting trauma," Biden said. "Our hearts go out for the survivors who had to flee for their lives and who hid terrified, unsure if they would ever see their families again or their friends again."

The president then thanked the heroic efforts of the police officers and first responders who arrived on the scene of the shooting with a special mention of Officer Eric Talley, who was killed in the shooting after being the first to arrive on scene. After those initial comments, president Biden turned to address Congress, urging them to act.

"While we're still waiting for more information regarding the shooter, his motive, the weapons he used. The guns, the magazines, the weapons, the modifications that have apparently taken place to those weapons that are involved here, I don't need to wait another minute, let alone an hour to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future," Biden said. "And I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act. We can ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines in this country. Once again, I got that done when I was a Senator. It passed, it was the law for the longest time. And it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again. We can close the loopholes in our background check system."

King soopers shooting boulder table mesa
(Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)

The president went further in saying that the Senate should "immediately pass" two bills that have passed the House which close loopholes in background checks required to purchase firearms.

"These are bills that received votes from both Republicans and Democrats in the House," Biden said. "This is not and should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue. It will save lives, American lives, and we have to act."

Former president Barack Obama also expressed the need to address gun violence in the country in a statement.

The two bills that Biden is referring to are H.R. 8, also known as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, and H.R. 1446, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021. Both bills were passed by the House two weeks ago with nominal bipartisan support. H.R. 8, introduced by Democratic Congressman Mike Thompson (CA), would establish background check requirements for gun sales between private parties, prohibiting transfers unless a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer or importer first takes possession of the firearm to conduct a background check. The legislation would not apply to certain transfers, such as a gift between spouses. The bill had three Republican co-sponsors in Representatives Fred Upton (Michigan), Christopher Smith (New Jersey), and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pennsylvania).

H.R. 1446, introduced by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D, SC), would close the loophole which allows some sales to go through before background checks are completed. The bill would increase the time that sellers must wait to receive a background check before transferring a firearm to an unlicensed buyer from three days to 10 days.

Though both bills passed the House, there is still some question as to whether or not they will pass in the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer did say that he will bring the legislation to the floor of the Senate even without the guarantee of Republican votes to at the very least, force them to go on record.

"H.R. 8 will be on the floor and we'll see where everybody stands," Schumer said during a press conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "No more hopes and prayers."

king soopers shooting Ahmad Al-Issa suspect
(credit: CBS)

The suspect in Monday's mass shooting at a grocery store in Boulder has been identified as 21-year-old Ahmad Al-Issa from Arvada.

Al-Issa has been charged with 10 counts of murder. There is no information about a possible motive at this time.

No photograph of the suspect is available. He will be booked into the Boulder County Jail when he is released from the hospital. Officials said they expected that to happen Tuesday afternoon.

According to the arrest affidavit, eyewitnesses said they saw Al-Issa wearing body armor or tactical gear during the shooting which started in the parking lot of the grocery store before he continued inside.

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