Authorities said an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at a South Texas elementary school, about 130 miles west of San Antonio, before being apparently killed by police.
On Tuesday evening, Mr Biden called for action in the aftermath of the elementary school shooting horror, but he did not state what actions he intended to take or call for a specific vote in Congress. or a policy.
“I was hoping that when I became president, I wouldn’t have to do this, again,” said a visibly shaken Biden, decrying the deaths of “beautiful, innocent” second, third and fourth graders in “a another slaughter”.
Mr Biden, whose life has been scarred by family tragedies, said parents in Texas “will never see their child again, will never see him jump into their bed and snuggle up to them”, he said .
He asked Americans to fight against the feeling of helplessness felt at the sight of another mass shooting.
“As a nation we have to ask ourselves when in the name of God are we going to stand up to the gun lobby, when in the name of God are we going to do what we all know in our guts to do “said Mr. Biden, his voice rising to a crescendo. “I’m sick and tired. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.”
Mass shootings in America are often followed by public protests and calls for action from Democratic politicians, but federal gun safety policies, such as background checks, which are common in other countries , failed in the face of strong Republican opposition.
The United States experienced 61 “active shooter” incidents last year, a sharp increase from the previous year and the highest number in more than 20 years, according to the FBI this week.
The shooting poses for Biden, already facing the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, another crisis on top of 40-year high inflation rates and the war in Ukraine.
A mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, 10 days ago has increased pressure on the Biden administration to keep its promise to quell gun violence, and the killing of primary school children may increase this pressure.
When he ran for the White House, Mr. Biden promised to promote gun safety measures and reduce the tens of thousands of annual gun deaths in the country. Biden and his fellow Democrats failed to secure the necessary votes in the Senate to pass their bills.
In 1994, Biden, then a senator from Delaware, ushered in a 10-year ban on assault weapons with a narrow 52-48 vote in the US Senate that was not renewed in 2004.
“When we passed the Assault Weapons Ban, mass shootings went down. When the law expired, mass shootings tripled. weapons and buying two assault weapons is just plain wrong,” Biden said.
The United States is the most heavily armed society in the world, according to the Small Arms Survey, a Geneva-based research group. Small, rural, often Republican-run states where gun ownership is rampant have disproportionate influence in the U.S. Senate, where a 60-vote supermajority is needed to push most laws through this 100-seat chamber. .
Mr. Biden was informed of the shooting aboard Air Force One while returning from a trip to Asia, Karine Jean-Pierre, a spokeswoman for the White House, said on Twitter. He called Texas Governor Greg Abbott to offer any help he needed.
In a proclamation issued before he landed, Mr Biden ordered the flags of the White House and US federal and state buildings to be flown at half-mast until sunset on May 28.
Biden lost his first wife and a baby girl in a car accident in 1972. His son Beau died of cancer in 2015 at the age of 46.
Active shootings up 52% last year https://www.reuters.com/world/us/fbi-counts-61-active-shooter-incidents-last-year-up-52-2020-2022- 05-24/Grim timeline of mass shootings in the United States https://www.reuters.com/world/us/grim-chronology-mass-shootings-united-states-2022-05-15/