Saturday, March 25, 2023

WATCH: Biden, First Lady visit memorial at Uvalde Elementary School

UVALDE, Texas ( Associated Press) — President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are hoping to comfort a town stricken by grief and anger when they visit families affected by the mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that saw 19 students and two Teachers were killed.

Uvalde’s visit on Sunday is Biden’s second visit in as many weeks to bring comfort to the grieving community following the staggering loss. On May 17, he visited Buffalo, New York, to meet the families of victims and condemn white supremacy, following the killing of 10 black people in a supermarket by a shooter advocating the racist “replacement theory”. were in

Watch the moment in the player above.

The shootings and subsequent events in Texas and New York have highlighted the country’s strong divisions and its inability to build a consensus on action to reduce gun violence.

“Evil came in that elementary school classroom in Texas, in that grocery store in New York, in a lot of places where innocent people have died,” Biden said in a commencement speech at the University of Delaware on Saturday. “We have to stand strong. We must stand strong. I know we can’t outlaw tragedy, but we can make America safer.”

Biden was to visit a temporary memorial outside Robb Elementary School before attending mass at a local Catholic church. The White House said he was scheduled to meet privately with family members at a community center and then with first responders at a local airport before returning to Washington. He was not expected to make any formal comments.

Mackinzie Hinojosa, whose cousin Elijah Torres was killed on Tuesday, said she respected Biden’s decision to mourn with the people of Uvalde.

“It’s more than mourning,” she said. “We want change. We want action. This is something that happens over and over again. Mass shootings happen. It’s on the news. People cry. Then it’s gone. Nobody cares. And then.” It happens. And then.”

“If there’s anything I can tell Joe Biden, as it is, just to respect our community while he’s here, and I’m sure he will,” she said. “But we need change. We need to do something about it.”

Biden’s visit comes amid growing scrutiny of the police’s response to the shooting. Officials revealed on Friday that students and teachers repeatedly pleaded with 911 operators for help, while a police commander told more than a dozen officers to wait in a hallway. Officials said the commander believed the suspect was locked inside an adjacent orbit and there was no longer an active attack.

The revelation caused more grief and raised new questions about whether more lives were lost because officers did not act swiftly to stop the gunman, who was eventually killed by Border Patrol tactical officers.

“It’s easy to point fingers at the moment,” said Uvalde County Commissioner Ronnie Garza on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Our community needs to focus on healing right now.”

Officials have said the shooter had legally purchased two guns shortly before the school attack: an AR-style rifle on May 17 and another on May 20. He was only 18 years old, he was allowed to buy weapons under federal law.

Biden said on Saturday that something had to change in response to the attack.

“I call on all Americans at this time to join hands and make your voices heard, to work together to make this nation what it can and should be,” Biden said. “I know we can do it. We’ve done it before.”

Hours after the shooting, Biden had made a passionate plea for additional gun control legislation, asking: “When will we stand in front of the gun lobby, in the name of God? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we let this happen?”

Over the years, Biden has been involved in the gun control movement’s most notable successes, such as the 1994 assault weapons ban, and its most troubling disappointments, including the new massacre following the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Failure to pass legislation is also included. , Connecticut.

As president, Biden has tried to address gun violence through executive orders. He now has few new options, but given Washington’s sharp divisions over gun control legislation, executive action may be best for the president.

In Congress, members of a bipartisan group of senators were negotiating over the weekend to see if they could reach a modest inclusion on gun safety legislation after a decade of mostly unsuccessful attempts.

Encourage state “red flag” laws to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental health issues, as well as address school safety and mental health resources, said Sen. Chris Murphy, who is leading the effort.

While there isn’t enough support from Republicans in Congress for comprehensive gun safety proposals popular with the public, including a weapons ban or universal background checks on gun purchases, Murphy, D-Conn, told ABC’s “This Week” that These other considerations are “not unimportant.”

The group will meet again this week under a 10-day deadline to strike a deal.

“There are more Republicans interested in talking about finding a way forward this time,” said Murphy, who represented the Newtown area as a congressman at the time of the Sandy Hook shooting. “And, finally, may my heart be broken, I’m at the table with more Republicans and Democrats right now than ever before.”

Associated Press Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro in Washington and Associated Press Video Journalist Robert Bumstead in Uvalde, Texas contributed to this report.

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