"18 precious souls stolen": Biden honors Maine mass shooting victims
Driving the news: The October shootings, which took place at a bar and bowling alley on the same night, were the deadliest of 2023 thus far.
- The suspect was found dead days later with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, concluding a manhunt that had prompted lockdowns in communities around Lewiston.
The big picture: Upon arrival Friday, Biden and the first lady were expected to meet with first responders, nurses and others who had been involved in responding to the shootings, per a White House press schedule.
- They also were scheduled to meet with survivors of the attacks, mourning families of the victims and other community members affected by the shootings.
- "18 precious souls stolen," Biden said in remarks outside the bowling alley where one of the shootings took place.
- "As we mourn today in Maine, this tragedy opens a painful, painful wound all across the country," the president said. "Too many Americans have lost loved ones or survived the trauma of gun violence."
- "This is about common sense, reasonable, responsible measures to protect our children, our families, our communities, because regardless of our politics, this is about protecting our freedom to go to a bowling alley, a restaurant a school, a church – without being shot and killed," he added.
Zoom out: Though he didn't specifically mention gun control in his remarks Friday, Biden has been a staunch advocate of stricter gun laws, and has repeatedly called on Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
- Biden continues to call for Congress to take such actions, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing Thursday ahead of the trip to Maine.
- "Too many times, the President and the First Lady have travelled to communities completely torn apart by gun violence," Jean-Pierre said.