US PRESIDENT Joe Biden has called on politicians in Washington to agree to the introduction of new gun control measures in the wake of a mass shooting at a school which took the lives of 19 schoolchildren and two adults in Texas.
The shooting took place at a primary school in the town of Uvalde, about 80 miles from San Antonio before lunchtime on Tuesday.
Police believe the attack was carried out by an 18-year-old carrying a rifle and wearing body armour. He was shot and killed by police at the scene.
“When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby”, Mr Biden said in an emotional address from the White House on Tuesday.
“I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.”
“For God’s sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry.”
For every parent, for every citizen, we have to make it clear to every elected official: It’s time for action.
We can do more. We must do more. pic.twitter.com/VDe0Wc7YT8
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 25, 2022
"What struck me is that these kind of mass shooting rarely happen in other countries," Biden said. "They have mental health problems. They have domestic disputes in other countries. They have people who are lost. But these kind of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency they happen in America. Why?"
It's time to turn this pain into action for every parent, for every citizen in this country, we have to make it clear to every elected official in this country: it's time to act."
The suspect has been identified as Salvador Ramos, a resident in the town of Uvalde.
Police in Texas say that he had shot grandmother earlier in the day. She was airlifted to hospital and has survived, according to authorities.
Police say he then drove to the school where he was engaged by some law enforcement personnel, but managed to get inside the building where the shooting took place.
At least one police officer is believed to have been shot but not seriously injured.
Vice President Kamala Harris echoed Biden's sentiments by tweeting "Enough is enough."
"As a nation, we must have the courage to take action and prevent this from ever happening again. It is long past time for our country to stand up to the gun lobby and pass reasonable gun safety laws.
"To the people of Uvalde: Please know that we grieve with you. We are praying for you. And we stand with you."