President Joe Biden spoke Thursday with the owners of an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs where five people were killed in a mass shooting, offering a sign of support as he pushes to ban assault weapons.
The president, along with First Lady Jill Biden, spoke on Thanksgiving with Club Q owners Nic Grzecka and Matthew Haynes.
The Bidens “reiterated their support for the community as well as their commitment to fighting back against hate and gun violence,” the White House said in a statement.
Biden made the call from Nantucket, where he and his family are spending Thanksgiving. Speaking to reporters there earlier in the day, he said it’s “ridiculous” that the US is not more regularly enforcing so-called red flag laws. Colorado has such a law, but officials there declined to say whether it could have been used in the case of the Club Q suspect.
The weekend shooting killed five and injured more than two dozen others. Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, was arrested and charged with murder and causing bodily injury in a “bias-motivated crime,” commonly referred to elsewhere as a hate crime.
Biden has said he’ll push to renew a ban on semiautomatic assault-style rifles, though it’s unlikely such legislation would garner enough Republican votes to pass in Congress.
The Colorado Springs suspect is believed to have used a semiautomatic weapon similar to an AR-15, the Associated Press reported, citing a law enforcement official.
“The idea we still allow semiautomatic weapons to be purchased is sick, just sick. It has no social redeeming value, zero, none. Not a single solitary rationale for it except profit for the gun manufacturers,” Biden said Thursday.
Asked if he’d push for an assault weapons ban in the lame-duck session of the current Congress, he said: “I’ve got to make that assessment and start counting votes.”
Just days after the Colorado Springs killing, a Walmart Inc. employee opened fire with a handgun in a Chesapeake, Virginia, store, killing six co-workers before taking his own life.
More than 600 shootings with multiple victims have occurred this year in the US, according to Gun Violence Archive.
Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates gun-safety measures, is backed by Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP.