Speaking from the White House, in a live broadcast during prime time, Mr Biden asked a country stunned by the recent shootings of school children in Texas, at a medical building in Oklahoma and at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, how much he would accept.
“For God’s sake, how many more carnage are we willing to accept?” Biden asked.
The president, a Democrat, called for a number of measures that have historically been blocked by Republicans in Congress, including raising the age at which adults can purchase guns and repealing the liability shield that protects firearms manufacturers from being prosecuted for violence perpetrated by persons carrying their weapons.
“We can’t let the American people down again,” Biden said, urging Republicans to allow bills including gun control measures to go to a vote.
The United States, which has the highest gun death rate of any wealthy nation, has been rocked in recent weeks by the high-profile mass shootings at a grocery store in New York, an elementary school in Texas that you have 19 children, and a medical facility in Oklahoma.
Gun safety advocates have pushed Mr. Biden to take stronger action on his own to reduce gun violence, but the White House wants Congress to pass legislation that would have a more lasting impact than any presidential order.
On Thursday, a US House of Representatives committee was working on a bill to strengthen the nation’s gun laws, though the measure is unlikely to pass the Senate.
Biden’s evening speech was intended to put more pressure on lawmakers and keep the issue front and center in the minds of readers. He has given only a handful of evening speeches from the White House during his tenure, including one on the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 and one on the Texas shootings last week.
More than 18,000 people died from gun violence in the United States in 2022, including homicide and suicide, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group.
Canada, Australia and Britain have all passed tougher gun laws after mass shootings in their countries, banning assault weapons and increasing background checks. America has seen two decades of massacres in schools, shops, and places of work and worship without any such legislation.
A large majority of American voters, both Republicans and Democrats, support tougher gun control laws, but Republicans in Congress and some moderate Democrats have been blocking such laws for years.
Stock prices of gun makers rose on Thursday. Efforts to advance gun control measures have pushed gun makers’ stock prices higher after more mass shootings, with investors anticipating gun purchases to rise in anticipation of regulation More Strict.
As President, Mr. Biden has called on Congress to reinstate the ban on assault weapons and to pass measures to require universal background checks for gun buyers.
In the aftermath of the Texas shooting, he urged the country to take on the powerful pro-gun lobby that backs politicians who oppose such legislation.
The Senate is split, with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, and legislation needs 60 votes to overcome a maneuver known as filibustering, meaning any legislation would need rare bipartisan support.
“The only room in America where you can’t find more than 60% support for universal background checks is the floor of the US Senate,” said Christian Heyne, vice president for policy at Brady, a group of prevention of armed violence.
Human rights advocates have expressed cautious optimism that lawmakers will embrace some gun control measures. If not, they plan to make it a rallying cry in November’s midterm elections.
While Mr. Biden and Congress explore compromises, the Supreme Court must rule on a major case that could undermine new efforts to pass gun control measures while making existing ones vulnerable to legal attack.