Following this week’s mass shooting in Boulder that killed 10 people, Colorado U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse called on President Joe Biden to ban semiautomatic rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines that are imported from abroad.
Neguse, who represents Boulder in Congress, sent a letter Thursday with support from more than 60 lawmakers — all Democrats — including Colorado’s Ed Perlmutter, Diana DeGette and Jason Crow.
They’re looking for Biden to issue an executive order to ban imported guns and ammunition, because it is within the president’s jurisdiction to enact a ban immediately, according to Neguse spokeswoman Sally Tucker.
A wider ban on guns and ammunition would have to move through Congress.
Biden said when it comes to gun laws that “it’s all a matter of timing.” In a midday news conference, he said his next priority, aside from COVID-19 recovery and vaccines, was infrastructure.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, about 3.3 million firearms were imported to the United States in 2019, including 301,000 rifles. That’s compared to about 6 million firearms produced domestically that same year, of which about 2 million were rifles. The trade association’s estimations are based on interim figures from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“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,” wrote Neguse and co-signatory Illinois Rep. Robin Kelly, adding later: “These tragedies have struck cities and towns across the nation, many of which are experiencing record levels of gun violence.”
Additionally, Neguse is working closely with the House Judiciary Committee and colleagues in Congress for action to reinstate the assault weapons ban, Tucker said.
Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert tweeted about gun restrictions on Thursday, saying Biden might require a background check before buying tools. Republican U.S. Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.