While Ovaldi grieved, Biden urged “rational” action on guns


WASHINGTON/Ovaldi, Texas, May 30 (Reuters) – A day after residents of Ovaldi, Texas, promised action to tackle gun violence, U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday sought to appeal to “rational” Republicans to limit high-caliber guns and other federal measures to prevent further federal action. Mass shootings.

“It got so bad that everyone made a lot of sense about it,” Biden said as he returned from his weekend trip to memorialize the 19 children and teachers killed last week in the nation’s worst mass school shooting in a decade.

“The idea of ​​these heavy-caliber weapons simply has no rationale for them in terms of self-protection and hunting,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

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The United States has seen hundreds of deaths from dozens of mass shootings in recent years, and a similar debate in Washington over how to limit them has not resulted in congressional action even as polls show most Americans support at least moderate gun ownership regulations.

The two parties remain deeply divided, with Biden’s Democrats opening up to new gun restrictions while Republicans enthusiastically guarding an expansionary vision of gun rights.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has repeatedly said gun regulations are not the answer, instead pointing to mental health issues.

Questions remained about a week after an 18-year-old shot his grandmother before heading to Robb Elementary School in South Texas armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, killing 21 people and wounding at least 17 others.

Local police waited about an hour while the kids kept calling 911 for help before a US Border Patrol tactical team stormed and killed the shooter.

The US Department of Justice said Sunday that it will review law enforcement’s response at the request of the mayor of Yuvaldi. Some Texas Democrats also want a separate FBI investigation.

“We deserve better surveillance…we want answers,” said Jesica Morales, 30, who was born and raised in Ovaldi but now lives in Houston, outside her parents’ home near the school.

Police removed school barricades Monday, allowing the Federal Memorial Day public to access a makeshift memorial with dozens of teddy bears and hundreds of bouquets fading in the Texas heat.

Mourners gathered in front of life-size portraits of the dead children and teachers. Some cried softly, while others lit candles or posed for pictures.

The first funeral of 21 funerals has been scheduled in Ovaldi this week.

He urged residents of the devastated town Biden to “do something” about gun violence as he visited on Sunday to meet with families and first responders.

“We will,” Biden said. Read more

Little has changed since 1999 when two gunmen killed 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado. Since then, mass school shootings have rocked Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, among others.

FBI data showed that last year the United States faced 61 “active shootings” in schools and elsewhere. Earlier this month, 10 people were killed in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket.

Biden supported multiple measures, including a renewed offensive weapons ban and a global background check. But the president, whose fellow Democrats control only Congress, has signaled the limits of executive action and urged lawmakers to act.

Democrats need the support of 10 Republican senators to pass any legislation.

Talks led by Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas are expected to continue this week, and Biden said Monday that Cornyn and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell are “rational” conservatives.

But Congress is in recess until June 6, increasing the risk of momentum waning. However, lawmakers can get around some ideas such as so-called red flag laws or raising the minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21.

While school shootings were horrific, American gun violence does occur regularly. Six people were shot over the weekend in Chattanooga, Tennessee, while at least one person was killed and several more injured in a shooting at an outdoor festival in Oklahoma City, local media reported.

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(Reporting by Steve Holland in Washington and Brad Brooks in Ovaldi, Texas; Additional reporting by Maria Caspani in New York and Rich MacKay in Atlanta. Writing by Susan Heffy. Editing by Scott Malone, Donna Bryson and Andrea Ricci

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