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Biden orders flags to half-staff as country mourns another mass shooting: ‘We must act’

President Joe Biden ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff on Friday in the wake of the mass shooting at an Indianapolis FedEx facility that killed at least eight people, calling gun violence an “epidemic” the country must address now.

It’s only been two weeks since the last time Biden made such an order after a previous mass shooting, and the President noted that that incident took place on the 14th anniversary of the murder of 32 people at Virginia Tech University. Biden said gun violence “pierces the very soul of our nation” and urged Congress to act.

“Last night and into the morning in Indianapolis, yet again families had to wait to hear word about the fate of their loved ones. What a cruel wait and fate that has become too normal and happens every day somewhere in our nation,” Biden said in a statement. “Gun violence is an epidemic in America. But we should not accept it. We must act.”

The shooting is the latest in a series of several high-profile mass shootings that have rocked the nation, including one at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, that killed 10 people and a shooting rampage in the Atlanta, Georgia, area that killed eight people. The incident in Indianapolis is at least the 45th mass shooting in the US in the last month following the Atlanta-area killings. The spate of mass shootings has led to increased calls for gun control measures, but the prospect for any bills in Congress is grim.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain has been in communication with Indianapolis’ mayor, and Biden’s homeland security adviser, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, is also in touch with law enforcement officials, Psaki said.

Vice President Kamala Harris spoke about the incident while meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday morning, saying she was thinking of the families that lost their loved ones in the shooting and said: “There is no question that this violence must end.”

“Yet again, we have families in our country that are grieving the loss of their family members because of gun violence,” Harris said at the White House.

Five people have been taken to local hospitals for treatment following the shooting. Police say they believe the shooter took his own life, and the FBI is assisting Indianapolis police with their investigation.

The shooting in Indianapolis is the latest in a recent spate of mass shootings across the country and comes a little more than a week after Biden unveiled several actions his administration would be taking to curb the level of gun violence in the US.

“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic and it’s an international embarrassment,” Biden said last week at the White House.

Biden’s recently unveiled executive actions include efforts to restrict weapons known as “ghost guns” that can be built using parts and instructions purchased online. The actions are limited in scope and Biden said they are initial steps to address gun violence.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki echoed the President’s call for the Senate to pass three bills strengthening background checks that have already passed the House of Representatives and to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

“Like all of you, we’re horrified by the shooting overnight at a FedEx facility,” Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing on Friday.

Psaki said: “The President has spent his entire career working to address gun violence and his determination to act has been redoubled by senseless killings we’ve seen both in mass shootings like this and in the lives lost to the epidemic of gun violence every single day in communities across our country.”

Biden made case for gutting liability protections for gun makers in private meeting

Passing gun reform legislation through Congress remains an uphill climb for Democrats in the face of stiff Republican opposition and it is unclear what a bipartisan way forward on the issue could look like.

Biden made an extensive case for Congress to gut the liability protections for gun makers during a private meeting with Democratic lawmakers earlier this week, reiterating his public position as discussions are beginning in the House to pass legislation on the matter, according to multiple attendees.

Speaking with Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Biden talked at length about targeting the lawsuit protections gun manufacturers enjoy under federal law — even though getting such legislation through the 50-50 Senate remains highly unlikely.

“He is committed to removing it — and to make sure they are held accountable,” said Rep. Steven Horsford, a Nevada Democrat who was at the meeting and who lost his own father to gun violence at the age of 19. Horsford told CNN that Biden talked about fingerprint technology that could be used by gun manufacturers to make firearm use easier to trace, as well as getting rid of the lawsuit protections once-and-for-all.

Democratic Rep. Sean Casten is working on legislation on the liability issue, and Horsford said that Democrats will push their leadership to schedule a vote on the matter.

“He said it was important that those protections– those liability protections be removed from gun manufacturers — with that, there would be some accountability and from that, we would see some reform from a free market standpoint,” said Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, who was in the meeting, said of Biden.

Stalled in the Senate

Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, two Connecticut Democrats, have been calling Republicans to see if there could be any support for gun legislation that could reach the necessary 60 vote in the Senate to pass, CNN has reported.

Democrats currently have 50 senators in the chamber, which means they need every Democrat on board and then 10 Republicans in order to reach the necessary 60 vote threshold to pass the legislation.

Blumenthal and Murphy acknowledge they will have to pare back a House-passed bill that would mandate background checks on firearm sales on commercial and private transactions as they face opposition from Republican senators and skepticism from moderate Democrats on the issue.

Murphy tweeted Friday morning: “When Congress does absolutely nothing, shooting after shooting, we become complicit in this slaughter. Our silence has been interpreted as endorsement.” He added, “Now is the moment for Democrats and Republicans to come together and pass a bill that will save lives.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also called for action in the wake of the shooting, writing on Twitter that “my heart goes out to the families of the 8 people who were killed and to the survivors.”

“The Senate will act to address this epidemic in America,” he said, reiterating that he will bring legislation to prevent gun violence to the Senate floor for a vote. Schumer is planning to bring the House-passed bills to expand background checks to the floor, but both lack 60 votes and also face resistance from Democratic moderate senators.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.

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Comments

15 Comments

  1. So an increased background check and ban on certain types of guns will stop the gun violence? These people have no clue how to prevent any violence and they are scrambling to appeal to their constituents. They don’t really care from behind their gated communities and armed guards. Worthless every one of them.

    1. Well, now we have a REAL government again and they ARE going to do something about guns, and they simply do not care what you magachuds think or feel about it…

      Because years of doing nothing have led us to this moment.

      So, you can beep and squawk all you want, but new gun safety legislation is coming.

      The adults are in charge now.

      1. The adults are in charge ? Your funny… Biden can’t even remember if he put his
        socks on when he got dressed, and Harris is meant to be seen, not heard.
        Dems have been promising sweeping firearms reform for years, and this time
        it will be exactly the same as before; a lot of promises and no decrease in shootings or murders, because they refuse to address the true problem which is mental health…
        These idiots in the White House still refuse to acknowledge the fact that the guns
        aren’t the problem, but they are the easiest target, and it evokes emotion in the
        liberal anti-gun crowd.
        They continue to use same wore out “ideas” of increasing the background checks
        because they have no real suggestions. You can beep and squawk all you want but the reality is, even the low I.Q Dems are smart enough to know that they won’t be able to change anything. It’s nothing but lip service to appease their loyal supporters, and their loyal supporters are stupid enough to think that the Dems are going to save us from ourselves, and change the world…

      2. I thought biden was going to stop covid, riots, and kids in cages on the border? Covid is ramping up, riots daily, and the border is the biggest disaster since he took over and her refuses to even address it (Kamala was put in charge, but hasn’t been there yet). No you are telling me “the adults in charge” are going to stop shootings too. Pathetic.

      3. Barney he is calling republicans “megachuds”. Does this go against rules posting? If not, I’d like to personally call him and democrats spineless little bitches.

      4. REAL???? Ha that’s incredibly laughable. I can tell you that the democrat party is filled with lots of things, and adults aren’t one of them. I’ve said it once but Ill say it again because you are obviously to stupid to understand the real world. Your president has been in government for over 40 years. Not to mention he was the Vice President for 8 years. Now you think he’s going to do something? You are either to stupid to even reason with or you just would rather lie to protect his lack of intellect. He won’t do anything that will have any long term effect on what the real problem is here. Mental health. You should be able to get on board with this because you obviously have some mental health issues if you truly believe the ignorance you just spouted off. Go back to where you will best be used. The basement!

      5. @Unconscience: If the adults are in charge now then anyone who falsifies a background check to buy a gun should be charged and prosecuted, right? No matter who they are or who their parent is?

      6. They don’t care what conservatives think? (it’s not about feelings, I know you dems live for that term). with a 50/50 senate and a tight house, they should really care about what conservatives think. 2022 will be an eye opener.
        The adults are in charge? All I have seen are whiny dems trying to blame all their hurt feelings on the conservatives. They are not acting like adults… school children on the playground at best.

        Gun safety legislation can only be reasonably passed if both sides start moving toward the center. Progressives won’t do it… I promise you that. So it will be an all out assault on our constitution and on our rights by the left until they push out legislation that won’t make a bit of difference in gun violence. But they will “feel” good about it.

      7. “…now we have a REAL government again…”
        Laughable.
        We don’t even have a real southern border now. Certainly not a real president.
        It sounds like tyranny is your cup of tea.

      8. So when you say real government, do you mean like the one that started in 2008? It’s interesting that you assumed i ment liberals and of course typical liberal reaction (attack with name calling). Just to clarify I was referring to all of the US congress. So moral of the story, don’t be a liberal and show everyone how mean and aggressive you really are.

  2. Waiting for more information on the shooter . . . Was he a disgruntled worker? I know that during the pandemic, FedEx has been extremely busy and it’s been very hard on their employees.

  3. What a remarkable coincidence that we have a surge in shootings just when a Democratic administration that campaigned on a gun control platform comes in.

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