The crime of an 18-year-old in a Texas elementary school brings back an old debate in the United States: Democrats like US President Joe Biden are urgently demanding more restrictive gun laws. In his first reaction, Biden also uses his personal fate as an argument.
After the school massacre in the state of Texas, US President Joe Biden called for stricter gun laws. "As a nation, we have to ask ourselves when in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby," Biden said in the White House. "The idea that an 18-year-old boy can walk into a gun store and buy two assault rifles is just wrong." It is high time "to turn this pain into action for every parent, every citizen of this country".
Since the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Connecticut state ten years ago, there have been more than 900 incidents of reported shooting on school grounds, Biden said. "I'm disgusted and tired," he added.
"Don't tell me we can't have any influence on this slaughter," he said to Republicans who oppose stricter gun laws. You can't prevent every tragedy with stricter gun laws - but these laws have positive effects. Many Republicans reject stricter regulations - the gun lobby is very powerful in the USA. Biden's Democrats lack the necessary votes in the US Senate for far-reaching changes in the law.
In his speech, Biden also remembered his son Beau, who died of cancer in 2015, and his daughter, who was killed in a car accident in 1972. "Losing a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped out," he said. Next to him was his wife Jill. Biden had just returned to Washington from a trip to Asia.
In a first statement, US Vice President Kamala Harris also called for political answers: "Enough is enough," said Harris. "As a nation, we must have the courage to act." Measures must be taken to ensure that such crimes don't happen again, Harris said - without getting specific. "Our hearts keep getting broken."
Former US President Barack Obama reacted with anger to the gun lobby: "Michelle and I mourn with the families in Uvalde," Obama wrote on Twitter. "You are experiencing a pain that no one should endure." He and his wife are also angry, the US Democrat added, criticizing the opposition US Republicans in this regard. "Our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and political party that have shown no willingness to do anything to prevent these tragedies," Obama said. The ex-US President wrote that it was high time to act.
Urgently called for action on the Senator Chris Murphy: "What are we doing? Why are you spending so much time running for the United States Senate? Why are you bothering to get this job (...), if your answer is that while this carnage intensifies and our children run for their lives, we do nothing," he asked, clearly struggling. "Why are we here?"
Such massacres are not inevitable. "It only happens in this country. And nowhere else," Murphy said. "Nowhere else do young children go to school thinking that they might be shot that day." Murphy added, "It's our decision whether this goes ahead." "Work with us to find a way to pass legislation that makes this less likely," he said. "I know my fellow Republicans will not agree with everything I advocate, but we can find common ground." Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who represents Texas in the Senate, immediately accused the Democrats of "politicizing" the attack in Uvalde in order to restrict the right to own guns.
According to the police, an 18-year-old attacker opened fire on Tuesday afternoon in the primary school in the small town of Uvalde. According to US media, at least 18 children were killed. According to initial findings, the shooter was finally killed by officials, it said. Guns are common in the US - and gun violence is commonplace in the country. According to the Gun Violence Archive website, almost 21,000 people were killed by gunfire last year alone, not including suicides.