Biden says flags were still at half-staff for Atlanta victims when the Colorado shooting happened

Biden says flags were still at half-staff for Atlanta victims when the Colorado shooting happened
President Joe Biden speaks about the Colorado shootings in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2021.Mandel Ngan/Getty Images
  • Biden offered an emotional response to Monday's shooting in Boulder, Colorado.
  • He said that flags were still lowered for Atlanta victims when the Boulder shooting unfolded.
  • Biden on Tuesday called for gun law changes, including an assault-weapons ban.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday offered an emotional appeal for tighter gun control measures in comments from the White House after yet another mass shooting in the US - this time in Boulder, Colorado, which left 10 people dead.

Biden underscored the frequency of mass shootings in the US by pointing to the fact the flags were flown at half-staff for victims of the March 16 shootings in Atlanta on the day the shooting in Boulder occurred.

The president ordered the flags to be lowered after eight people were shot dead at three Atlanta spas, and they flew at half-staff until the order expired at sunset on Monday.

"While the flag was still flying at half-staff for the tragedy, another American city has been scarred by gun violence and resulting trauma," Biden said in his remarks on Tuesday.

"I hate to even say it because we say it so often: my heart goes out," Biden added, speaking to the Boulder community.


Biden has also directed the White House flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims in Boulder.

The president in his remarks called on Congress to take steps to strengthen gun control and suggested he might take executive actions to thwart gun violence.

"As president I'm going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep people safe," Biden said.

"The United States Senate should immediately pass the two House-passed bills that would close loopholes in the background check system," the president went on to say. "We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again. I got that done when I was a senator. It passed, it was the law for the longest time and it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again."

Though polling has shown policy proposals such as universal background checks are extremely popular with voters across partisan lines, the path toward any new gun laws being passed in Congress has repeatedly proven to be a rocky one. Congressional Republicans over the years have repeatedly blocked efforts to push new gun control legislation through, and GOP lawmakers on Tuesday once again expressed opposition as Democrats demanded prompt action.


Democratic lawmakers like Sen. Richard Blumenthal during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing said that the response needed to go beyond thoughts and prayers.

"Inaction has made this horror completely predictable. Inaction by this Congress makes us complicit," Blumenthal said. "Thoughts and prayers, cannot save the eight victims in Atlanta or the 10 last night, including a brave police officer."

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Ted Cuz of Texas said, "I don't apologize for thoughts or prayers."

"Every time there's a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater where this committee gets together and proposes a bunch of laws that would do nothing to stop these murders," Cruz said. "But what they propose - not only does it not reduce crime, it makes it worse."

There have been 103 mass shootings in the US in 2021 so far, according to Gun Violence Archive, which defines mass shootings as four or more people being shot and/or killed in a single incident. Overall, there have been 4,127 deaths from gun violence this year so far (not including deaths by suicide). In 2020, there were more than 19,000 gun violence deaths in the US, according to Gun Violence Archive.