President Joe Biden has had enough. During his press briefing following the horrific Uvalde, Texas, elementary school massacre that left at least 19 children and two adults dead on May 24, he said Americans need to push back against gun lobbyists. “As a nation, we have to ask, ‘When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name do we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?” he implored from the White House’s Roosevelt Room.
He next asked Americans to recall the countless school shootings that the country has faced since Sandy Hook in 2012, during which a gunman slaughtered 26 people including 20 children. Biden was Barack Obama‘s vice president at the time. He used the examples as a segue to once again speak about the current lack of gun control. “If an 18-year-old can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons, it’s just wrong. What in God’s name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone? Deer aren’t running through the forests with kevlar vests on, for God’s sake. It’s just sick,” he slammed.
Biden later questioned why such shootings “rarely” happen in other countries. “They have mental health problems, they have domestic disputes in other countries, they have people who are lost. Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone? To the courage to deal with it and stand up to the lobbyists,” Biden passionately said. “It’s time to turn this pain into action,” he continued. “We have to make it clear to every elected official in this country, it’s time to act.”
Earlier in the day, Vice President Kamala Harris made a similar plea while speaking at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies 28th Annual Awards. “While we don’t know all the details yet, we do know that there are parents who have lost children, families that have lost children and their loved ones, of course, and many others who may have been injured. So, I would normally say in a moment like this — we would all say naturally — that our hearts break, but our hearts keep getting broken,” she emotionally explained.
She then encouraged the people in the room to speak up about gun laws. “You know, I think so many — there’s so many elected leaders in this room. You know what I’m talking about. Every time a tragedy like this happens, our hearts break, and our broken hearts are nothing compared to the broken hearts of those families. And yet, it keeps happening,” she noted. “So, I think we all know and have said many times with each other: Enough is enough. Enough is enough. As a nation, we have to have the courage to take action and understand the nexus between what makes for reasonable and sensible public policy to ensure something like this never happens again.”
Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic politician who is currently running against Texas Governor Greg Abbott in the 2022 gubernatorial race, also spoke out. “Our broken hearts are with Uvalde,” he said. He later slammed Abbott. “The moment to stop Uvalde was right after Sandy Hook. After Santa Fe High. After El Paso. Instead, Abbott made it easier to carry guns in public. The moment to stop the next slaughter is right now,” he tweeted. Democratic Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro also pleaded for gun law reform. “Uvalde is a wonderful, tight-knit community west of my hometown of San Antonio. My heart goes out to the community and the families in Uvalde devastated by gun violence today. This is a parent’s worst nightmare. We need gun reform now,” he tweeted.
Following the massacre, Abbott sent his condolences to all involved in the shooting. “When parents drop their kids off at school, they have every expectation to know that they’re going to be able to pick their child up when that school day ends. And there are families who are in mourning right now,” he said in a briefing, per ABC News. “The state of Texas is in mourning with them for the reality that these parents are not going to be able to pick up their children.” He also tweeted, “Texans are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime & for the community of Uvalde. Cecilia & I mourn this horrific loss & urge all Texans to come together.”