As the United States of America remains shell-shocked after the brutal Texas mall shooting on Saturday, which killed nine and wounded seven, President Joe Biden has renewed the call for a ban on assault weapons in the hands of civilians. He said on Twitter, referring to the “assailant in tactical gear armed with an AR-15 style assault weapon”, that such a massacre was “not for the first time”. The Texas mall shooting perpetrator has been identified as a 33-year-old named Mauricio Garcia.
The President followed this up with another tweet, in which he said: “Once again, Congress must send me a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.” He listed other necessary gun control measures in his tweet. As usual, the President’s tweets got some vitriolic reactions from the gun lobby.
Biden has also ordered that the US national flag be lowered to half-mast at all public buildings to honour the victims of the Allen Premium Outlets mall shooting in Dallas, Texas. He and Vice-President Kamala Harris and other Democrats have been urging the US Congress almost nonstop to send this bill banning assault weapons for civilians, but the Republicans are very wary of losing votes if they support any real gun control measures.
The impact of no gun control shows in the mass shooting statistics — there has been a spate of mass murders in the US between May last year and this year, and three of these incidents were in Texas alone. One of them was at an elementary school in Uvalde, where 19 young children and two staff members were shot dead last summer by an 18-year-old male carrying an assault rifle.
The assailant who perpetrated the massacre at Allen mall this Saturday was also heavily armed, carrying an assault rifle. Like the killer at the elementary school, he was shot dead by the police. However, with military-grade firearms still available to civilians, more such mass murders would not surprise anyone.