(Washington) US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, the day after another school shooting, the majority of Americans find it “odd” to own assault rifles, military-style weapons regularly used in such attacks. massacres.

“Most Americans think owning assault rifles is weird, it’s a crazy idea. They are against it,” he told reporters, in response to questions about the tragedy that unfolded Monday in Nashville, in the southern United States.

A former student, armed with two assault rifles and a pistol, killed three 9-year-old children and three adults at a school, before being shot dead by police.

Joe Biden has expressed his dismay at Congress’s inaction on assault rifles – which are legal to own – like the popular AR-15, declaring himself helpless on the matter.

“I used the full extent of my executive power to act on the weapons myself. Congress must act,” he said. “There is nothing I can do except implore Congress to act responsibly. »

The Democrat recalled that assault rifles were banned in the United States for ten years, between 1994 and 2004. The measure was passed with the help of then-Senator Joe Biden by the administration of President Bill Clinton .

“The last time we banned assault rifles, the violence went down,” he said.

The United States, where killings are regular, has more individual weapons than inhabitants.

The AR-15s, which resemble the rifles of American soldiers, are particularly sought after by amateurs. More than 24 million such guns were in circulation in the country as of mid-2022, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms industry trade organization.

Joe Biden’s call is unlikely to result in a ban on such weapons by Congress. Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, are fiercely opposed.

47% of Americans support such a move, but 51% oppose it, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll in February.

And some 16 million people, or about one in 20 Americans, own at least one AR-15 type rifle, according to another poll, this time targeting gun owners, by The Washington Post and Ipsos.