‘Where in God’s name is our backbone?’: Biden demands reform after Texas elementary school massacre

President Biden told the nation on Tuesday night it was time to “turn this pain into action” following a mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that killed at least 21 people.

“Why are we willing to live with this carnage?” he said, hoarsely and visibly emotional. “Where in God’s name is our backbone, to have the courage to deal with this and stand up to the [gun] lobbies?”

The president was returning from a multi-day trip to Asia when news broke that a gunman had opened fire at Robb Elementary School in the small town of Uvalde, before being shot.

At least 18 rich kids and three adults were killed in the massacre, the deadliest school shooting in Texas history and the worst such violence in the US since 27 people were killed at a grade school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, in 2012.

“What struck me on that 17-hour flight, what struck me was these kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world,” the president said during his remarks. “Why? They have mental health problems. They have domestic disputes in other countries. They have people who are lost. These kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency they happen in America.”

Mr Biden called on Congress to pass “common sense” gun laws, including renewing the now-expired assault weapons ban he helped pass.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated with more information.

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