WASHINGTON, D.C. (KXAN) — “I had hoped when I became president I would not have to do this,” President Joe Biden said Tuesday evening as he addressed the nation following a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. At least 18 children and one adult were killed when 18-year-old gunman Salvador Rolando Ramos opened fire at Robb Elementary before he was later killed by law enforcement.
Prior to his address, Biden ordered American flags to fly at half-staff Tuesday after a deadly shooting at a Texas elementary school.
“To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away,” Biden said Tuesday, adding scores of parents, siblings, friends, family members and loved ones will be left brokenhearted following the shooting.
He said it’s been nearly 3,500 days since he stood at a grade school in Connecticut following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting on Dec. 14, 2012 that killed 26 people, including 20 children.
Since, Biden said Tuesday evening there’s been more than 900 gunfire-related incidents reported on school grounds, including mass casualty events at schools in Santa Fe, Texas in May 2018 and in Parkland, Florida in February 2018.
This comes 10 days after a mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York killed 10 people.
“I am sick and tired of it,” Biden said.
He called on legislators to have “the courage” to enact “common sense gun laws,” adding the Uvalde shooter’s ability to purchase multiple assault weapons is “just sick.”
Biden had returned Tuesday afternoon from a trip overseas with multiple leaders in Asia, where he said the pervasiveness of mass shootings is not as common. This is not as widespread of an issue elsewhere in the world, Biden said, despite other countries also grappling with mental health issues, domestic violence and other complications.
“Why are we willing to live with this carnage?” he asked.
He said it’s time to turn pain into action and enact policies without obstruction or delay. He said politicians need to stand up to gun lobbyists, who he said heavily market assault weapons.
Biden closed his address calling for prayers for all those impacted by Tuesday’s shooting.
“May God bless the loss of innocent life on this sad day,” he said.
Prior to his address, Biden issued a proclamation to lower flags as “a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated” at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, which is located about 90 miles west of San Antonio.
According to the president’s proclamation, this applies to flags at the White House, all public buildings, military posts, naval stations and naval vessels until sunset on May 28. Additionally, this order includes American embassies, legations, consular offices and other facilities abroad.
Abbott posted on Twitter that he is now directing the Texas flag to be lowered to half-staff statewide “in memory of those who lost their lives in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.” This remains in effect until sunset on May 28, the governor said.
Reactions to the deadly school shooting as well as condolences are pouring in Tuesday evening from elected leaders and other officials in Texas.