May 24, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Biden marks 2nd anniversary of Uvalde mass shooting with letter to community

A memorial for mass shooting victims at Robb Elementary School is seen in May 2022 in Uvalde.

A memorial for mass shooting victims at Robb Elementary School in May 2022 in Uvalde. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

President Biden marked the second anniversary of the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas with a letter to the community, saying more must be done to prevent gun violence and mass shootings.

The big picture: Nineteen children and two teachers were killed at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022, in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

Driving the news: Biden wrote in the letter that while he visited the victims' families after the shooting, "they had the same message we hear in the aftermath of all too many mass shootings: Do something."

  • "In the 2 years since, they have made their voices heard — and our country has listened," he wrote.
  • "To the families of the victims: know that, even after years have passed, there are days it feels like you just got the news yesterday. While there are no words that will ease the pain you continue to feel, I pray you find comfort in reflecting on their memories and all that they meant."

Zoom in: In the letter, Biden reaffirmed his commitment to gun reform, again calling on Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Context: During the shooting, victims had been trapped inside two classrooms with the shooter for over an hour, even after hundreds of police officers had arrived at the scene.

  • Many of the victims were killed while they were inside the classrooms, the doors to which were locked, police had claimed.

Zoom out: Earlier this week, nineteen families of the victims reached a $2 million settlement with Uvalde.

  • The anniversary comes about four months after the Department of Justice released a scathing review of the police response to the shooting, bluntly calling it a "failure."
  • The police who initially arrived at the school wasted time that could have been used to save lives and failed to treat the scene as an active shooter scenario, according to the report.
  • The federal reviewers also concluded that at least one of the doors to the classrooms was likely unlocked throughout the shooting and that no one tested the doorknobs to confirm if they were actually locked.

Go deeper: ABC releases new documentary on Uvalde school shooting tragedy

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