Ms. Harris and Mr. Biden sought to take care of a difficult balance of their remarks. They promised that the newly signed law — which was the product of intense negotiation and compromise with Republicans within the Senate — would save lives, and that it may need helped to stop recent shootings if it had been in place a yr ago. But in addition they said that it didn’t go far enough.
The law, which broke a three-decade logjam on the passage of gun measures in Washington, includes expanded background checks for people younger than 21 who seek to purchase guns and allocates thousands and thousands of dollars for presidency mental health efforts and implementation of the so-called red flag laws that give officials the power to temporarily confiscate guns from people deemed dangerous by a judge. It also toughens gun trafficking laws and closes what’s generally known as the boyfriend loophole in a ban on firearm purchases by domestic abusers.
“It matters,” Mr. Biden said. “It matters. Nevertheless it’s not enough, everyone knows that.”
Mr. Biden used his remarks to renew his call for a latest ban on assault weapons; a previous ban, which Mr. Biden helped enact as a senator in 1994, expired after 10 years. Other speakers echoed his words.
“I invite everyone to maneuver forward from this start of the change that can allow us to make it to the tip of our fight, which is a world where the protection of colleges is rarely doubted and weapons of war usually are not allowed in our communities,” Dr. Roy Guerrero, a pediatrician in Uvalde, said in introducing Ms. Harris.
However the ranks of the gang underscored how difficult it could be for Mr. Biden to follow through on his pledge and enact any additional gun measures. Though about 80 members of Congress joined the event, only two were Republicans: Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who helped lead the negotiations on the bipartisan bill, and Representative Tony Gonzales, whose district includes Uvalde. Many other Republicans have criticized the bipartisan bill as going too far in restricting gun-owners’ rights.
Mr. Biden offered no plans on Monday to win Republican converts so as to pass a latest gun bill through the Senate, or to steer holdout Democratic senators to lift the filibuster and pass such a bill by a straightforward majority vote. At a time when activists have criticized him for not leading more forcefully on guns, abortion, climate change and more, the president closed his speech by reeling off statistics about people, particularly children, killed every yr by gun violence.
“We will’t just stand by,” he said. “We will’t let it occur any longer.”