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Biden urges Congress to pass gun safety measures after Colorado shooting

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President Joe Biden shared his condolences Tuesday after a deadly mass shooting at a Colorado grocery store, and urged Congress to tighten gun laws in response to the killings.

“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour to take common sense steps that will save the lives in the future,” Biden said at the White House, calling for federal laws to expand background checks and ban assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Boulder police identified Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, 21, as a suspect in the Colorado shooting, which left 10 dead. He was arrested Monday afternoon at King Soopers grocery store and has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder, officials said.

“I want to say to the community, I am so sorry this incident happened,” Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said at a press conference Tuesday morning. “We are going to do everything in our power to make sure this suspect has a thorough trial and we do a thorough investigation.”

Police respond at a King Sooper’s grocery store where a gunman opened fire on March 22, 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. Ten people, including a police officer, were killed in the attack.

Chet Strange | Getty Images

Biden in his remarks said he had been briefed on the shooting by Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray. The president added that has spoken with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and is being kept informed by local law enforcement officers.

Biden noted that among the dead was police officer Eric Talley, 51, who had been the first to arrive at the scene of the shooting.

“Every time an officer walks out of his or her home, and pins that badge on, the family member that they just said goodbye to wonders subconsciously, will they get that call, the call that his wife got?” Biden said.

He said he would not speculate about the alleged killer’s motivations “until we have all the facts” — but stressed that lawmakers should not hesitate to take action.

Biden advocated reinstating bans on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, and called on the Senate to “immediately” take up two House-passed bills aimed at closing loopholes in the background-check system.

“This should not be a partisan issue,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said earlier Tuesday that he is committed to bringing that legislation to the floor.

“This Senate is going to debate and address the epidemic of gun violence in this country,” Schumer said. “Today our hearts are with the people of Colorado, and with everyone whose lives have been touched by gun violence.”

Biden on Tuesday also signed a proclamation ordering flags be flown at half-staff at the White House, military posts, naval vessels and upon all public buildings.

It’s the second time in less than a week that Biden has called for flags to be lowered in the wake of a mass shooting, following the killing of eight people at spas in the Atlanta area.

Before Biden’s remarks, former President Barack Obama released a statement that called on “those with the power to fight this epidemic of gun violence to do so.”

“A once-in-a-century pandemic cannot be the only thing that slows mass shootings in this country,” Obama’s statement said.

This is developing news. Please check back for updates.

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