“Too many times the president and first lady have traveled to communities completely torn apart by gun violence,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on the eve of the Bidens’ trip on Friday. “We can’t accept it as normal.”
In addition to those killed, 13 people were injured in the Oct. 25 shootings at a bar and a bowling alley.
The president has said he’s determined to fight gun violence in the U.S. He created the first-ever White House office of gun violence prevention, which is charged with finding solutions and fully implementing landmark gun safety legislation enacted last year. He’s also pushing for a ban on so-called assault weapons.
“There are too many other schools, too many other everyday places that have become killing fields, battlefields here in America,” Biden said during a speech on gun violence last year.
The shooting has many searching for answers.
“In general, I have no issue with the use of guns. Some people feel more comfortable having a gun for protection or for some it’s a hunting tradition,” Seal, who communicated through an ASL interpreter because she’s deaf., told the AP earlier this week.
Overall, stricter gun laws are desired by a majority of Americans, regardless of what the current gun laws are in their state. That desire could be tied to some Americans’ perceptions of what fewer guns could mean for the country — fewer mass shootings.
Biden was notified of the shooting as he hosted a White House state dinner honoring Australia. He later stepped out of the event to speak by telephone with Maine Gov. Janet Mills and the state’s representatives in Congress.
“By visiting us in our time of need, the president and first lady are making clear that the entire nation stands with Lewiston and with Maine — and for that I am profoundly grateful,” she said.