President Biden on Wednesday marked the anniversary of a mass shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school that left 19 children dead, offering sympathy to the families of the victims and pleading yet again for Congress to take action to stop the epidemic of gun violence in the United States.
“Too many schools, too many everyday places have become killing fields in communities all across every part of America,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “And in each place, you hear the same message: Do something. For God’s sake, please, do something.”
Biden noted that Congress passed a bipartisan gun safety bill last summer in the wake of the Uvalde shooting and a mass shooting just days earlier in Buffalo, N.Y., but lamented that it was “not nearly enough.”
He called on Congress to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines, establish universal background checks and red flag laws that allow authorities to confiscate weapons from individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others, and end immunity for gun manufacturers to avoid liability.
“It’s time to act. It’s time to make our voices heard. Not as Democrats or Republicans. But as friends, neighbors, parents and as fellow Americans,” Biden said, asking “how many more parents will live their worst nightmare before we stand up to the gun lobby.”
On May 24, 2022, a gunman entered Robb Elementary School in Uvalde and killed 19 children and two teachers. Eighteen others were injured, including 14 students.
The president, who was joined by first lady Jill Biden on Wednesday, stood in front of candles that were lit to honor each of the victims.
Biden visited Uvalde shortly after the shooting to pay his respects to the victims and mourn with the families.
The legislation, which was signed into law by the president in June, enhanced background checks for gun purchasers between the age of 18 and 21, made obtaining firearms through straw purchases or trafficking a federal offense and clarified the definition of a federally licensed firearm dealer, among other measures.
The bill was seen as a major win after years of gridlock prevented any significant gun legislation from passing in the wake of mass shootings like Sandy Hook. But the country has continued to see an onslaught of gun violence, including at schools.
In March, three nine-year-olds and three adults were killed in a shooting at a Nashville school. In April, two people were killed and four others were injured after shots were fired into a crowd in Louisville, Ky. Earlier this month, a gunman opened fire in a shopping mall near Dallas, killing eight others.
In the wake of each of those shootings, Biden has pleaded with Congress to pass an assault weapons ban and end immunity for gun manufacturers to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in the country. The president has signed several executive actions to crack down on gun trafficking and the proliferation of gun violence, but the White House has repeatedly said Congress must ultimately act to solve the problem.
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