WASHINGTON — Faced with the second mass shooting in a week, President Biden and Democrats on Capitol Hill called on Tuesday for fast action to enact stricter gun laws, a plea that was immediately met with a blockade of opposition by Republicans.
In brief, somber remarks from the White House, Mr. Biden called on the Senate to pass a ban on assault weapons and to close background check loopholes, saying that doing so would be “common sense steps that will save lives in the future.”
His demand for action was the latest in what has become a doleful ritual in Washington: making a renewed call for gun safety legislation after a deadly shooting, this one at a Colorado grocery store where 10 people, including a police officer, were killed on Monday.
“This is not and should not be a partisan issue — it is an American issue,” Mr. Biden said. “We have to act.”
left 20 children and six adults dead. Since then, there has been little progress at the federal level, even as the epidemic of gun violence has raged on.
On Tuesday, Mr. Biden noted that he had to draft a proclamation to keep the White House flags at half-staff because they had been already been lowered to honor eight people killed by a gunman in the Atlanta area less than a week earlier.
“Another American city has been scarred by gun violence and the resulting trauma,” the president said.
passed two bills this month aimed at expanding and strengthening background checks for gun buyers by applying them to all gun buyers and extending the time the F.B.I. has to vet those flagged by the national instant check system.
Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, vowed on Tuesday to put the bills to a vote on the Senate floor, and Mr. Biden urged their passage while also calling for a new assault weapons ban. The gunman in the Colorado shooting was armed with both a military-style semiautomatic rifle and a pistol.
Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said that he “was open to the discussion” around gun control measures, but that he was opposed to the two House-passed bills.
“What I’m not attracted to is something that doesn’t work, and there have been deep-seated philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats about how to deal with gun violence,” he said.
Even before the recent shootings, Democrats had begun advancing stricter gun control measures that faced long odds in the 50-to-50 Senate. But even with unified Democratic control, speedy congressional action seems as elusive as ever.
The twin pieces of legislation passed in the House have been deemed ineffective and too expansive by most Republicans; only eight House Republicans voted to advance the universal background check legislation. The bills would almost certainly not muster the 60 votes needed to clear a filibuster in the Senate.