(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden called for more stringent measures to combat gun violence during a visit to Maine following the state’s deadliest-ever mass shooting.
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“Regardless of our politics, this is about protecting our freedom to go to a bowling alley, restaurant, school, or church without being shot and killed,” Biden said Friday. “I’ve been at this a long time, I know consensus is ultimately possible,” he added.
The president and first lady Jill Biden visited Lewiston, Maine to pay respects to the victims, meet with first responders and mourn with families and community members at the sites of the shootings.
“Jill and I have done too many of these,” Biden said, assuring members of the local community, “You’re not alone.”
The Oct. 25 shooting, which killed 18 people and wounded more than a dozen, highlighted the problem of US mass gun violence, which Biden and his predecessors have struggled to solve.
Biden has called on lawmakers to pass an assault-weapons ban and other limits on firearms in the shooting’s wake but stopped short of enumerating specific policies Friday, instead expressing support for “common sense, reasonable and responsible measures to protect our children, our families, our communities.”
An assault weapons ban and the other measures Biden has urged have virtually no chance of passing the divided Congress. When Democrats controlled both chambers last year, Biden signed the first major federal gun-control law in three decades.
But the president has said policymakers must go further than that measure, which tightened background checks and funded state red-flag laws and crisis-intervention programs.
The alleged Maine shooter, Robert Card, was found dead last week from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot after an intense manhunt. Card, a US Army reservist and firearms instructor, opened fire at a bowling alley and bar before fleeing the scene.
Authorities have not stated a motive for the shooting but investigators have focused on Card’s mental health.
(Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates gun-safety measures, is backed by Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP.)
--With assistance from Jenny Leonard and Justin Sink.
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