WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden on Wednesday renewed his call for a ban on assault weapons as he and his wife Jill held a White House event to mourn the lives lost at the Uvalde, Texas, elementary school one year ago.
The May 24, 2022, tragedy in which 19 schoolchildren and two teachers were killed was the most wrenching of the many mass shootings that have regularly taken place over the past year.
“We can’t end this epidemic until Congress passes common sense gun safety laws and keeps weapons of war off our streets and out of the hands of dangerous people (and) until states do the same thing,” Biden said.
More children and teenagers in the United States were killed by guns than any other cause in 2020, according to a mortality analysis by researchers from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Biden renewed his appeal for Congress to ban AR-15 assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
“The number one killer of children are guns,” Biden said.
“It’s time to act, it’s time to act. It’s time to make our voices heard. Not as Democrats or as Republicans but as friends, as neighbors, as parents, as fellow Americans,” he said.
At the event, a solemn Biden and first lady stopped at each of four pillars holding lit candles with the names of the children and educators killed.
Biden spoke softly, struggling at times with emotion, and mentioned planning a memorial service this weekend marking the anniversary of the death of his son Beau, who died of a brain tumor, in 2015.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Steve Holland; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)