Biden says he will travel to Texas to visit families of school shooting victims ‘in the coming days’

“Jill and I will be traveling to Texas in the coming days to meet with the families and let them know that we have some sense of their pain and hopefully bring some comfort to a community in shock, grief and of trauma,” Biden said at the White House during an executive order signing event on police reform.

“As a nation, I think we all have to be for them. Everyone,” he added. “And we have to ask ourselves: when, in the name of God, will we do what needs to be done to, if not completely stop, fundamentally change the scale of the carnage that is taking place in this country?

Echoing remarks he made Tuesday night in a national address, Biden said he was “sick and tired of what’s going on.”

He said “common sense” gun reform would “not prevent all tragedies” but would “still have a significant impact and have no negative impact on the Second Amendment.”

“The Second Amendment is not absolute,” Biden said. “When it was passed, you couldn’t own a cannon. You couldn’t own certain types of weapons. There were always limits.”

“The idea that an 18-year-old can buy weapons of war designed and marketed to kill is, I think, just plain wrong. It just violates common sense,” the president continued.

“Where is the spine? ” He asked. “Where is the courage to stand up to a very powerful lobby? »

The president said Wednesday that “one modest step” Congress could take immediately would be to confirm his nominee to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Steve Dettelbach, who has sworn earlier Wednesday during a Senate confirmation hearing that he would not. be influenced by political considerations if he gets the job.

“The Senate should confirm this without delay, without apology,” Biden said. “Send the nomination to my office. It’s time to act.”

With 21 dead and 17 others injured, the attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde was the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade, shaking a nation still reeling from a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, just 10 days ago.

Details of the shooting scene continued to be released by law enforcement officials on Wednesday as more is learned about the crime. The suspect shot his grandmother, drove to the nearby school, forced his way into nearby classrooms and opened fire on a group of children and teachers. Officers eventually forced their way into the barricaded room and a Border Patrol agent fatally shot him.

Tuesday’s massacre is the second deadliest school shooting since 2012, when 26 children and adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and it was at least the 30th school shooting in K- 12 in 2022, according to a CNN tally.

Biden, in his national address Tuesday night, recalled the Sandy Hook shooting, which happened when he was vice president.

“I had hoped that when I became president I wouldn’t have to do this anymore,” he said. “How many dozens of little children who witnessed what happened – saw their friends die as if they were on a battlefield, for God’s sake? They will live with this the rest of their lives. life.”

Biden signs executive order on police reform

Biden’s comments on Wednesday came during an executive order signing ceremony aimed at reforming the federal police.

The order, signed on the second anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd, is more limited than sweeping legislation that has been blocked by Republican opposition in Congress.

Members of Floyd’s family, the families of others killed by police, members of Congress, members of the law enforcement community and members of Cabinet were also in attendance.

Vice President Kamala Harris addressed families in the room at the ceremony, saying that while the order to reform the police won’t take away their pain, the new action is “a critical and long-awaited step forward.” since a long time”.

The order takes several steps that will be applied to federal agents, including efforts to ban chokeholds, expand the use of body-worn cameras and restrict no-knock warrants.

The order also requires the Justice Department to create a new national police misconduct database, which will be used by all federal law enforcement agencies and required for checks on federal personnel. The database will also be used to screen state and local officials who participate in federal joint task forces.

Biden’s order also brings back and reinforces Obama-era limitations on the transfer of military equipment to local police departments, which had been rolled back by the Trump administration.

During his Wednesday speech, Biden again promised to do “everything” in his power to push through police reform and again urged Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

“George’s name is not just going to be a hashtag, your dad’s name is going to be known for a long time. As a nation, we are going to ensure his legacy and the legacy of so many others are remembered today. It’s not about their deaths, but what we do in their memory matters. Goal,” Biden said, addressing Floyd’s daughter, Gianna.

After signing the order, Biden invited Gianna to sit at the signing desk.

Harris, who had received the pen Biden had used to sign the order moments earlier, then leaned over and offered it to him.

The president then told the crowd, “You know what she said to me when I saw her? … Seriously, she pulled me aside and said, ‘My daddy is going to change the world.’ “

This story was updated with additional developments on Wednesday.

CNN’s Sam Fossum contributed to this report.

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