President and first lady Joe and Jill Biden traveled to the devastated community of Lewiston, Maine on Friday to show honor to those innocent people who were killed and injured in a horrific mass shooting incident about a week earlier, according to CBS News.
In maintaining respect for the mournful moment, the president refrained from being overtly political with explicit calls for more gun control, though he did toe the line and implied that more measures were needed to address gun violence without getting specific.
CBS News reported that the first couple met with survivors of the shooting attacks at a restaurant and bowling alley that left 18 people dead and another 13 wounded, as well as first responders, doctors and nurses, and other community members in addition to plans to quietly meet later with the families of those who were killed.
In his remarks Friday at a recreation center in Lewiston, President Biden said, "We’ve done -- Jill and I have done too many of these. Jill and I are here, though, on behalf of the American people to grieve with you and to make sure you know that you’re not alone."
He praised the first responders and medical workers he'd met earlier and mentioned his plans to meet "with survivors and families of the victims who have -- will never quite be the same. No pain is the same. But we know what it’s like to lose a piece of our soul and the depths of a loss is so profound. Some of us have been there."
"You know, as we mourn today in Maine, this tragedy opens a painful -- painful wounds all across the country. Too many Americans have lost loved ones or survived the trauma of gun violence," Biden said. "I know because Jill and I have met with them in Buffalo, in Uvalde, in Monterey Park, in Sandy Hook, in all -- anyway, too many to count -- too many to count -- from places that never make the news all across America."
As noted, President Biden did not explicitly call for more gun control, though he did seem to imply that it was needed as he said, "It’s about bringing people together, different voices and perspectives, for an honest conversation on what’s to be a long road to recovery. You know -- and I’ve been at this a long time, and I know consensus is ultimately possible."
"This is about commonsense, reasonable, and responsible measures to protect our children, our families, and our communities," he added. "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."
Yet, while Biden may have refrained from making any specific mention of the anti-gun measures he desires to impose on the American people, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre showed no such restraint in a press gaggle on board Air Force One during the flight up to Maine.
She told reporters that the president would "deliver remarks honoring this community while calling on lawmakers to do more to prevent such tragedy from ever happening again" and pointed out that he had already "taken historic action over the last two and a half years to end the gun violence epidemic tearing our nation apart."
"Congress has a responsibility too. They must pass on assault -- an assault weapons ban. They must enact universal background checks, require safe storage, and end immunity from liability for manufacturers," Jean-Pierre added. "Congress has the power to ensure an event like this does not happen again. The time is now to act."
It must be noted, however, that while President Biden held back from making a specific call for more gun control measures during his visit to Lewiston to pay his respects to the dead and injured, there was no similar constraint shown in the immediate aftermath of the tragic mass shooting that, predictably, was ghoulishly exploited with great haste by him and others who seek to infringe upon the rights of all based on the actions of individuals.
"Far too many Americans have now had a family member killed or injured as a result of gun violence. That is not normal, and we cannot accept it," Biden said in an initial statement. "While we have made progress on gun safety through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the two dozen executive actions I’ve taken, and the establishment of the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, it’s simply not enough."
"Today, in the wake of yet another tragedy, I urge Republican lawmakers in Congress to fulfill their duty to protect the American people. Work with us to pass a bill banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, to enact universal background checks, to require safe storage of guns, and end immunity from liability for gun manufacturers," he added as the incident was still being sorted out. "This is the very least we owe every American who will now bear the scars -- physical and mental -- of this latest attack."