President Joe Biden on Sunday assailed GOP lawmakers in his response to the Allen, Texas, mass shooting that left nine people dead, saying Republicans cannot continue to respond to the nation’s plague of gun violence “with a shrug”
A gunman opened fire at shoppers and employees at Allen Premium Outletsin the Dallas suburb on Saturday afternoon, killing eight people and injuring seven others. The suspected shooter was killed by an Allen Police Department officer who was on unrelated assignment at the outdoor mall. The victims, who have not yet been identified publicly, range in age from 5 years old to 61 years old.
Biden said he is praying for the victims and their families after what he called “the latest act of gun violence to devastate” the United States.
“Too many families have empty chairs at their dinner tables,” Biden said in a White House statement. “Republican Members of Congress cannot continue to meet this epidemic with a shrug. Tweeted thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
Biden said that if Congress sent him a bill that banned assault weapons, he’d sign it immediately.
“Once again, Congress must send me a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” the president said. “Enacting universal background checks. Requiring safe storage. Ending immunity for gun manufacturers. I will sign it immediately. We need nothing less to keep our streets safe.”
Newsweek reached out via email to representatives for the Biden administration.
Texas Democratic Senator Roland Gutierrez echoed Biden’s criticisms when he slammed Governor Greg Abbott and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, both Republicans, over their response to gun violence in the state.
While Abbott, Patrick and GOP Senator Ted Cruz sent their thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims, Gutierrez expressed his outrage over the lack of action.
“There is a special place in hell even for people that have this kind of problem staring them square in the face and have done nothing about it. I don’t care about their thoughts, and I don’t care about their prayers,” the Democratic senator said during a TV appearance on MSNBC following the shooting.
Gutierrez tweeted a similar comment later on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Republican Representative Keith Self, whose district includes the site of the deadly shooting, hit back at people who criticize lawmakers for sending thoughts and prayers in the wake of a tragic event.
“Well, those are people that don’t believe in an almighty God…who is absolutely in control of our lives,” Self said on a CNN appearance. “I’m a Christian. I believe that he is.”
According to data collection and research group Gun Violence Archive, the Allen incident is the 199th mass shooting in the U.S. this year. It was the nation’s second mass shooting in Texas in just over a week.