Biden makes fresh call for gun control as Texas shooter named
President Joe Biden called on Republican members of Congress to pass gun control bills in the wake of yet another mass shooting that left nine people dead, including the gunman, at a Texas mall on Saturday.
The shooter was named on Sunday as 33-year-old Mauricio Garcia, according to two senior law enforcement officials who spoke to NBC News.
The US president renewed calls for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as to enact universal background checks and end immunity for gun manufacturers.
There is little chance that the Republican-controlled House or the narrowly Democratic Senate would pass such legislation, despite polls showing most Americans support background checks.
The president said the assailant wore tactical gear and was armed with an AR-15-style assault weapon.
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“Such an attack is too shocking to be so familiar. And yet, American communities have suffered roughly 200 mass shootings already this year, according to leading counts,” said Biden, who ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff.
Garcia killed eight people, including children, and wounded at least seven, before a police officer shot him dead.
According to law enforcement officials who spoke to NBC News, Garcia interacted with neo-Nazi and white supremacist content online, as well as posting such content.
He also reportedly had several social media accounts, and authorities found a patch with a right-wing acronym on his chest.
Law enforcement have not released details about the identities of the victims.
“We don’t have anything that we’re ready to release at this time,” Sergeant Jonathan Maness of the Allen Police Department told Reuters. “It’s a lot of moving parts here.”
Officials said three people transported to area hospitals were in critical condition, while four had been stabilised.
There have been at least 199 mass shootings in the US so far in 2023, the most at this point of the year since at least 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, called the shooting “devastating” in a Sunday morning interview on Fox News but said that the way to effectively tackle gun violence lies in addressing mental health.
“There has been a dramatic increase in the amount of anger and violence that’s taking place in America,” he said. “We are working to address that anger and violence by going to his root cause, which is addressing the mental health problems behind it.”