Biden visits Maine shooting sites, says ‘consensus’ on gun violence is possible

President Biden on Friday called for consensus around reforms to curb gun violence as he visited the site of yet another mass shooting, this time in Lewiston, Maine, where 18 people were killed last week.

The president and first lady stopped at a memorial outside Schemengees Bar & Grille, one of the sites targeted by the gunman in the Oct. 25 shooting. They also visited Just-in-Time Recreation, a bowling alley where the gunman opened fire. The two locations are roughly 4 miles apart.

“I know consensus is ultimately possible,” Biden said in remarks in front of the bowling alley, where the marquee displayed the message: “Lewiston Strong! Remembering our loss.”

“This is about common sense, reasonable, responsible measures to protect our children, our families, our communities,” Biden added. “Because regardless of our politics, this is about protecting our freedom to go to a bowling alley, a restaurant, a school, a church without being shot and killed.”

A gunman on Oct. 25 killed 18 people and injured more than a dozen others after opening fire at the bowling alley and restaurant in Lewiston. A search ensued, and the suspected gunman, Robert Card, was found dead two days later.

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The massacre was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States to date this year, and it is the deadliest since the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in 2022.

Biden noted on Friday how frequently he has consoled gun violence victims during his presidency.

“As we mourn today in Maine, this tragedy opens painful, painful wounds all across the country. Too many Americans have lost loved ones or survived the trauma of gun violence,” Biden said. “I know, because Jill and I have met with them in Buffalo and Uvalde, in Monterey Park and Sandy Hook. I’ve done … too many to count.”

Biden met with first responders, survivors and families of the victims during Friday’s trip.

The Maine shooting prompted fresh calls from Biden and other Democrats to ban assault weapons and pass reforms that would reduce gun violence across the country. But such an outcome is unlikely with Republicans controlling the House and dismissing calls for legislation, while Democrats narrowly control the Senate.

The shooting did change at least one mind in the House, with Maine Rep. Jared Golden, a moderate Democrat, saying he would back an assault weapon ban after past opposition.

Biden in September established the Office of Gun Violence Prevention to focus specifically on the issue of mass shootings. The office’s deputy director, Greg Jackson, was in Maine this week to provide support to local officials and community members.

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