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Biden calls for gun legislation following Boulder shooting, orders flags to be lowered

Posted at 1:18 PM, Mar 23, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden is calling on Congress to pass gun legislation following Monday’s deadly shooting at a Colorado supermarket.

During a speech on Tuesday, Biden called on the Senate to “immediately” pass legislation that would attempt to close loopholes in the gun background check system following the mass shooting that claimed the lives of 10 people at a Kings Soopers in Boulder.

While Biden said the motive and means by which the suspect procured his weapons remains unclear, he said, “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, and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act.”

Biden also said he wants to ban assault weapons again in the U.S.

“We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again,” said Biden. “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. We can close the loopholes in our background check system, including the Charleston loophole. That’s one of the best tools we have right now to prevent gun violence.”

Biden said protecting Americans from gun violence shouldn’t be a partisan issue.

“This is an American issue. It will save lives, American lives, and we have to act,” said Biden.

Biden also commended the “exceptional bravery” of Officer Eric Talley, the Boulder police officer who was among those killed in the shooting. Talley was among the first to respond to 911 calls, and officials said his actions saved lives.

Also on Tuesday, Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims.

In a proclamation, Biden said flags should be lowered at the White House, all public buildings and grounds, all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the federal government until sunset on Saturday. He also directed flags to be lowered at all U.S. embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities.

The flags had previously been lowered to honor the victims of last week's shootings at Atlanta-area spas, where eight people were killed.

The president’s new order is meant as a “mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated” at the King Soopers.

“I hate to even say it, because we’re saying it so often – my heart goes out, our hearts go out for the survivors who had to flee for their lives and who hid, terrified, unsure if they’d ever see their families again, their friends again,” said Biden. “The consequences of all this are deeper than I suspect we know, by that I mean the mental consequences. We’ve just been through too many of these.”

The 10 victims were killed when a gunman opened fire at the store at about 2:40 p.m. local time.

When officers arrived at the scene at 3600 Table Mesa Drive, police say they immediately entered the store and engaged the suspect. There was then an exchange of gunfire during which the suspect, 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, was shot.

Police say Alissa, a resident of Arvada, was then taken into custody at 3:28 p.m. and transported to a hospital for treatment. He’s now in stable condition.

The suspect has been charged with 10 counts of murder in the first degree and will be transported to the Boulder County jail Tuesday.

The ages of the victims range from 20 to 65. Their identities are listed below:

• Denny Stong, 20
• Neven Stanisic, 23
• Rikki Olds, 25
• Tralona Bartkowiak, 49
• Suzanne Fountain, 59
• Teri Leiker, 51
• Eric Talley, 51
• Kevin Mahoney, 61
• Lynn Murray, 62
• Jody Waters, 65

Detectives are asking anyone with any information about this crime to submit them online here.You can also call the tipline at 1-800-CALL-FBI. For digital media, you can submit information