President Biden demanded that Congress “stand up to the gun lobby” and tighten restrictions on guns in the wake of Tuesday’s shooting at a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school that killed at least 18 children and two adults.
In his brief remarks from the Roosevelt Room, where he was joined by first lady Jill Biden, Mr. Biden lamented the frequency with which mass shootings occur in the U.S. as compared to other countries.
“Why are we willing to live with this carnage?” the visibly angry president said.
“Why do we keep letting this happen? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden’s remarks Tuesday echo his similar calls for political action one week ago while visiting Buffalo, New York, in the wake of a racially-motivated shooting by a White 18-year-old at a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood that killed 10 people.
Mr. Biden sighed as he approached the podium Tuesday.
“I’m sick and tired of it,” Mr. Biden said. “We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage. I spent my career as a senator and vice president working to pass common-sense gun laws. We can’t and won’t prevent every tragedy, but we know they work and have a positive impact.”
“It’s time to turn this pain into action for every parent for every citizen of this country,” he said. “We have to make it clear to every elected official in this country, that it’s time to act.”
Mr. Biden was briefed on the shooting while aboard Air Force One returning to Washington from a five-day trip to Asia.
While still aboard the flight late Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Biden issued a proclamation honoring the victims of the shooting and ordered that flags be flown at half-staff until sunset Saturday.
“May the Lord be near the brokenhearted and save those crushed in spirit because they’re going to need a lot of help and a lot of our prayers,” he said during his address.
The shooter, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by police, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbot. Two officers suffered minor injuries in an exchange of gunfire during the incident.
• Susan Ferrechio contributed to this story.