WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Tuesday said he was devastated by the Boulder shooting that left 10 people dead, including police officer Eric Talley, calling Talley "the definition of an American hero" and urging Congress to act immediately on gun control measures.
Biden said he "can't imagine how the families [of the victims] are feeling, who now have to struggle to go on and make sense of what happened."
While information was still being released Tuesday about the alleged gunman and the gun used in the shooting, Biden called for immediate gun control measures at the federal level, including a ban on assault weapons. Biden was in the Senate when the 10-year federal assault weapons ban was passed in 1994. The ban expired in 2004.
On Tuesday, Biden said, "We should do it again" with another assault weapons ban.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense measures,” when it comes to gun control, Biden said.
An arrest affidavit said police found a rifle, possibly an AR-15, and a semi-automatic handgun at the scene. The affidavit also said the suspect, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, purchased a Ruger AR-556 on March 16, though it was not clear Tuesday what specific gun was used in the shooting.
Biden also urged the U.S. Senate to pass two House bills that would close loopholes in the background check system.
Earlier Tuesday, Biden ordered in a proclamation that 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.
"We have to act," Biden said of possible gun control measures. "So there’s not more of you (victims). There’s fewer of you as time goes on."
Biden praised Talley for his heroic actions on Monday.
"When he pinned on that badge yesterday morning, he didn't know what the day would bring," Biden said. "But when the moment to act came, officer Talley did not hesitate. That's the definition of an American hero."