President Joe Biden renewed his call for added gun-control laws and ordered U.S. flags to fly at half-staff after a deadly shooting near the Indianapolis airport, the latest in series of massacres that have shaken the nation.
“Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence,” Biden said in a statement on Friday, noting that he earlier urged Congress to pass new gun laws. “It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation. We can, and must, do more to act and to save lives.”
A gunman opened fire late Thursday at a FedEx Corp. facility near Indianapolis International Airport, killing eight people before apparently taking his own life and leaving several others wounded.
The recent spate of shootings have thrust gun violence back into the national spotlight and created another domestic challenge for a president already confronting the coronavirus pandemic, a historic migrant influx and police shootings of Black Americans.
Biden signed several executive actions last week aimed at curbing gun violence and called on Congress to pass gun legislation, though he acknowledged the difficulty of enacting new laws with the House and Senate closely divided along party lines.
Nonetheless, the president has said action is needed and that the number of mass shootings has humiliated the U.S. in the eyes of the world.
“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment,” Biden said last week.
Recent shootings in Colorado and Georgia left 18 people dead and caused gun-control advocates and Democratic lawmakers to ramp up pressure on Biden to address the issue.
Flags will be lowered at the White House, government buildings, military posts and embassies, according to Biden’s statement on Friday.
Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were briefed earlier Friday on the Indianapolis shooting. White House chief of staff Ron Klain had contacted the city’s mayor, and Homeland Security Adviser Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall was in touch with local law enforcement, according to the White House.
Five people were hospitalized after Thursday night’s shooting including one with critical injuries, according to the Associated Press. Police said the gunman apparently killed himself after shooting the others, the AP reported.
Biden’s executive actions would crack down on “ghost guns,” which can be assembled from kits and are not traceable by law enforcement because they lack serial numbers, as well as braces for pistols that make firearms more stable and accurate.
The president also announced federal funds would go toward community violence intervention and prevention programs that are designed to de-escalate conflicts in urban communities before they turn violent. His proposed infrastructure bill includes $5 billion over eight years for the programs.
(Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for universal background checks and gun-control measures, is backed by Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent company Bloomberg LP.)©2021 Bloomberg L.P. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC