In his first comments since the deadly shooting at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday, President Biden called on lawmakers to "stand up" to the gun lobby, saying most Americans support "common sense gun laws" that are known to "work and have a positive impact."
Biden was visibly upset during his address, and said he had hoped to never have to speak to the country again about a deadly mass shooting. "Another massacre, Uvalde, Texas, an elementary school," Biden said. "Beautiful, innocent, second-, third-, fourth-graders, and how many scores of little children who witnessed what happened, see their friends die, as if they're in a battlefield, for God's sake. They'll live with that the rest of their lives."
As a country, "we have to ask, when in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?" Biden asked. "When in God's name will we do what we know in our gut needs to be done?" It's been nearly 10 years since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 first-graders and six educators were killed. "Since then, there have been over 900 incidents of gunfire reported on school grounds," Biden said.
"I am sick and tired of it," Biden continued. "We have to act." When the assault weapons ban passed in 1994, "mass shootings went down," he said, and when it expired, "mass shootings tripled. The idea that an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is just wrong. What in God's name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone?"
Biden said gun manufacturers have spent the last two decades "aggressively marketing assault weapons, which make them the most and largest profit," and he again called on lawmakers and citizens to "have the courage to stand up to the industry."
Why do "these kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world"? Biden asked. "They have mental health problems, they have domestic disputes in other countries." And "why are we willing to live with this carnage?" he continued. "Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God's name is our backbone?"
Biden said it is time to "turn this pain into action, for every parent, for every citizen in this country. We have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: It's time to act."