President Biden delivers an impassioned plea to Congress to act on gun control, calling on lawmakers to restore limits on the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines after a string of mass shootings in the country.

Biden condemns as
Biden condemns as "unconscionable" the refusal of a majority of Republican senators to enact tougher firearms regulations. (AFP)

President Joe Biden has called for a "ban" on private assault weapons in a rare primetime address to pressure US Congress to pass gun reform laws, after a string of mass shootings renewed calls to tackle America's deadly firearms problem.

Speaking from the White House on Thursday, the president said that nothing has been done after many mass shootings, "but this time we must actually do something."

"How much more carnage are we willing to accept?" he said, adding, "guns are the number one killers of children" in the country. 

Biden's address came after last week's shootings by an 18-year-old gunman, who killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and another attack on Wednesday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a gunman shot and killed four people and himself at a medical office.

And those came after the May 14 assault in Buffalo, New York, where a white 18-year-old wearing military gear and live streaming with a helmet camera opened fire with a rifle at a supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood, killing 10 people and wounding three others in what authorities described as "racially motivated violent extremism."

Biden said he found it "unconscionable" that a majority of the Senate Republicans did not want to take any action on legislation related to gun violence.

"My God, the fact that the majority of the Senate Republicans don't want any of these proposals even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable. We can't fail the American people again," Biden said.

If legislators fail to act, Biden warned, voters should use their "outrage" to turn gun violence into a central issue in November's midterm elections.

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Over 18,000 dead from gun violence

Gun safety advocates have pushed Biden to take stronger measures on his own to curb gun violence, but the White House wants Congress to pass legislation that would have a more lasting impact than any presidential order.

More than 18,000 people have died from gun violence in the United States in 2022, including through homicide and suicide, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit research group.

Canada, Australia and Britain all passed stricter gun laws after mass shootings in those countries, banning assault weapons and increasing background checks. 

America has experienced two decades of massacres in schools, stores and places of work and worship without any such legislation.

A broad majority of American voters, both Republicans and Democrats, favour stronger gun control laws, but Republicans in Congress and some moderate Democrats have blocked such legislation for years.

Shares in gun manufacturers rose on Thursday. 

Efforts to advance gun control measures have boosted firearm stocks after other mass shootings as investors anticipated that gun purchases would increase ahead of stricter regulations.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies