Biden calls for stricter gun laws on Uvalde

The US on Wednesday marked one year since the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, where 21 lives were lost. 

President Joe Biden used the occasion to reiterate his call for a ban on AR-15 assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, emphasizing that too many schools and public spaces have become sites of senseless violence.

“I realize this is a really tough day for all the families. Remembering is important, but it’s also painful,” said Biden. “We know one year later, this is still so raw for you. You’ll miss birthdays and holidays, school plays, soccer games. Just that smile. A year of everyday joy, just gone forever,” he said addressing a gathering with First Lady Jill Biden.

He delivered the remarks in front of a display with 21 candles, one for each victim, with a white rose and satin ribbons in school colors that displayed each victim’s name and age.

After the shooting: Uvalde and gun control

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Memories honored

A larger commemoration event took place at an outdoor amphitheater near Robb Elementary School, where the devastating shooting occurred on May 24, 2022.

Hundreds honored the memory of the 19 school children and two teachers who tragically lost their lives in the deadliest shooting in nearly a decade. The Texas legislature paused for a few moments of silence at 11:30 a.m. CDT, the time the shooter entered the school.

Law enforcement officials had been criticized for their delayed response, as they waited for over an hour before entering the classroom where the gunman had opened fire.

During this period, the children inside repeatedly called emergency services for assistance. Eventually, the police charged into the classroom and fatally shot the suspect, bringing an end to the assault.

On Wednesday evening, hundreds gathered at Uvalde Memorial Park for prayers and songs to mark one year since the tragedy. The event commenced with attendees releasing butterflies into the air from white envelopes, symbolizing hope and renewal. As the sun began to set, young survivors of the shooting led the gathering in lighting candles, creating a solemn and contemplative atmosphere.

The vigil was organized by Lives Robbed, a group established to provide support to the families of the Uvalde victims and advocate for enhanced firearms safety measures.

Renewed call for gun control

President Biden stressed the urgency of enacting common-sense gun safety laws at both the federal and state levels. He emphasized the need to keep weapons of war out of the hands of dangerous individuals, urging Congress and state legislatures to take action.

The killings, along with another mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, initiated a bipartisan legislation.

The law toughened background checks for the youngest gun buyers, and sought to keep firearms from domestic violence offenders and to help states put in place red flag laws that make it easier for authorities to take weapons away from people adjudged to be dangerous.

In 2020, more children and teenagers in the United States lost their lives to firearms than any other cause, as reported by researchers from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, analyzing US government mortality data.

tg/jsi (AP, Reuters)

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