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Neguse, other House Democrats urge Biden to ban assault weapon imports

ERNEST LUNING - Colorado Politics | Published on 4/3/2021
U.S Rep. Joe Neguse and more than 60 other House Democrats asked President Joe Biden on Thursday to halt importation of semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines, citing Monday's deadly shooting at a Boulder supermarket as a reason for the president to act "immediately" rather than wait for lawmakers to pass gun control legislation.

"As our nation battles the health and economic crises created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we simultaneously must combat the persistent and rising violence caused by access to dangerous firearms," reads a letter organized by Neguse and U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly of Illinois.

"Banning the import of these weapons will lessen the devastating impact of gun violence in communities across our nation."

Neguse represents Boulder, where an alleged gunman killed 10 people Monday at a King Soopers. Authorities say the suspect purchased a semi-automatic Ruger AR-556 six days before the massacre.

The lawmakers — including Colorado Democrats Diana DeGette, Jason Crow and Ed Perlmutter, who were among the House members signing the letter — urge Biden to issue an executive order under the Gun Control Act of 1968, action taken by both Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Biden pledged during the 2020 presidential campaign to ban imports of the weapons while Congress worked to pass legislation

On Tuesday, Biden called on Congress to pass expanded background checks and reinstate a ban on on assault-style weapons that expired more than 15 years ago, but Republican opposition in the Senate stands to block the passage of any legislation.

Biden said Thursday during his first press conference that he intends to take action on gun safety measures including legislation to establish firearms manufacturer liability and a potential executive order banning so-called "ghosts guns," including guns built using 3-D printing technology.

"All of the above. It is a matter of timing," Biden said in response to a question about gun policy and then pivoted to lengthy remarks about his infrastructure proposal.