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The second deadly U.S. mass shooting in a week has put new pressure on President Joe Biden to deliver on the gun control promises he made as a candidate.
BIDEN: "We can ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines."
Biden on Tuesday called the shooting that left 10 dead at a Colorado grocery store a tragedy. That rampage came just six days after a gunman in Georgia killed eight people in massage and beauty spas.
But despite an epidemic of mass shootings stretching back decades, gun-control measures pushed by Democratic lawmakers have been thwarted Republican opposition.
The debate was on display in a Senate hearing Tuesday.
Louisiana Republican John Kennedy told reporters he saw no need for new gun laws.
"I don't believe we have a gun control problem in America. I believe we have an idiot control problem. And the objective should be to how to control the idiots who abuse guns."
But Democrat Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut was optimistic.
"This time feels different. We have a President committed to ending gun violence, a majority in both houses of Congress, and most importantly, a growing grassroots movement led by a new generation."
Earlier this month the House of Representatives passed two bills that would broaden background checks for gun buyers.
A small number of Republicans voted with Democrats to approve the measures.
But the legislation faces an uncertain future in the Senate, where passage requires 60 votes and Democrats hold just fifty seats in the chamber.