President Joe Biden visited Uvalde, Texas, on Sunday to meet with some of the families whose children died last week in the latest mass shooting at a elementary school.
Biden was greeted in Uvalde by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican who regularly criticizes the Democratic president over immigration at the southern U.S. border and is seeking re-election in November. Biden’s first stop was a memorial at the school where an 18-year-old man who legally bought two assault rifles fatally shot 19 children and two teachers on Tuesday.
In the wake of the killing, Vice President Kamala Harris called for a ban on assault weapons and enhanced background checks for firearm purchases, while Biden broadly has urged Americans to stand up to the “gun lobby.”
“In the face of such destructive forces, we have to stand stronger. We must stand stronger. We cannot outlaw tragedy, I know, but we can make America safer,” Biden said Saturday during a commencement ceremony at the University of Delaware, his alma mater.
“We can finally do what we have to do to protect the lives of the people and of our children,” he added, before linking both the shooting in Uvalde and a recent shooting at a Buffalo supermarket to a rise in white supremacy.
In Uvalde, Biden also will meet with the grieving families.
“Those parents are literally preparing to bury their children in the United States of America — to bury their children,” he said Saturday. “There’s too much violence, too much fear, too much grief.”
The shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo are the latest instances of gun violence. Harris said on Saturday that there have been over 200 mass shootings to date, despite being “barely halfway through the year.”
“We are not sitting around waiting to figure out what the solution looks like. You know, we’re not looking for a vaccine,” Harris told reporters in Buffalo, New York, after attending the funeral for a victim of the mass shooting there. “We know what works on this. It includes, let’s have an assault weapons ban.”
A 10-year federal law banning assault weapons for civilian use expired in 2004 and hasn’t been renewed, reflecting the political difficulty of passing gun-control legislation.
Biden’s visit to Uvalde coincides with the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston, where a series of speakers on Friday, including former President Donald Trump, rejected tighter gun control and defended the right to bear arms.