Biden calls Nashville school shooting ‘sick’ and renews call for assault weapons ban

President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass a renewed assault weapons ban and said schools need more protection without seeing their facilities ‘ turned into prisons’

Andrew Feinberg
Monday 27 March 2023 20:05 BST
‘It’s sick’: Joe Biden confirms many ‘won’t make it’ after Nashville school shooting

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Louise Thomas

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President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass stronger gun safety legislation — including a renewed assault weapons ban — in the wake of Monday’s shooting at a Nashville, Tennesee, private school.

Mr Biden called the shooting, which authorities have said claimed six lives, including those of four children, “sick” and “heartbreaking,” and praised law enforcement for their prompt response during an event to celebrate woman-owned small businesses at the White House.

“I want to commend the police who reply and respond, credibly swiftly within minutes … We’re monitoring the situation really closely … and we have to do more to stop gun violence. It’s ripping our communities apart … and we have to do more to protect our schools so they aren’t turned into prisons,” he said.

“So I call on Congress again to pass my assault weapons. It's about time that we began to make some more progress,” he added.

Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lamented how often Americans are now gunned down in their schools while speaking to reporters at her daily press briefing.

“While we don't know yet all the details in this latest tragic shooting. We know that too often our schools and communities are being devastated by gun violence. Schools should be safe spaces for our kids to grow and learn and for our educators to teach,” she said.

First Lady Jill Biden also weighed in on the tragedy in remarks at a National League of Cities event on Monday.

“I am truly without words. Our children deserve better. We stand with Nashville in prayer,” she said.

Ms Jean-Pierre also reminded reporters that Mr Biden signed the first meaningful gun legislation to pass Congress in decades — the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act — into law last year, and said the president believes that law is “not enough”.

“We must do more. And he wants Congress to act because enough is enough,” she said.

“In his State of the Union. The president called on Congress to do something to stop the epidemic of gun violence, tearing families apart, tearing communities apart. How many more children have have to be murdered before Republicans in Congress will step up and act to pass the assault weapons ban to close loopholes in our background check system or to require the safe storage of guns,” she continued. “We need to do something — once again the President calls on Congress to do something before another child is senselessly killed in a preventable act of gun violence”.

The White House press secretary also said Mr Biden will address the Nashville shooting in remarks later on Monday, and called the events in Tennessee “unacceptable”.

“What we're seeing today what we're seeing in schools and communities across this country is unacceptable. Our children should be able to go to school feeling safe, feeling protected. People should be able to go to grocery stores feeling safe. And what we saw today is devastating. It's heartbreaking for any American any parent across the country or any American, and so that's why this President has been very clear from day one, he is going to continue to fight for those communities,” she said.

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