By Andrea Shalal
DURHAM, North Carolina (Reuters) -U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday condemned a “sick” epidemic of gun violence against children, one day after a school shooting left three students and three adult staff members dead in Nashville.
Asked if he was planning a visit to Tennessee, Biden told reporters, “that’s underway now. We’re trying to figure that out – what helps the most.”
He said he had spoken with the officers involved in stopping the attack and planned to speak with families of the victims. It was not immediately clear when or whether the president would make such a trip.
“I never thought when I started my public life that guns would be the number one killer of children in America,” Biden told an audience in North Carolina. “It’s sick.”
Firearms have surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death for Americans aged 1 to 19, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data through 2021, the latest figures available.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Biden has called on Congress to re-impose a ban on “assault” weapons.
On Tuesday, he said high-powered, semi-automatic weapons are problematic not just because of their ability to fire multiple rounds quickly but also the damage their bullets do to the human body.
“What in God’s name does anyone need that for in America?,” Biden said.
The Nashville shooter, a 28-year-old who was fatally shot by officers at the scene, used two assault weapons and a handgun, police said.
(Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Eric Beech and Dan Whitcomb; writing by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and David Gregorio)