WASHINGTON — For the fourth time in less than five weeks, President Joe Biden ordered the flag at the White House to be lowered to half-staff Friday after an overnight shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis killed eight people.
Biden remarked on the sad routineness of the order in a statement on the latest mass shooting in the U.S.
“While we await critical details about the shooting, its motivation, and other key information,” Biden said, “once again, I have the solemn duty of ordering the flag lowered at half-staff at the White House, public buildings and grounds, and military posts and embassies, just two weeks after I gave the last such order.”
Yet again, he said, another shooting shows why action is needed to curb gun violence through “commonsense gun violence prevention legislation.”
“Gun violence is an epidemic in America. But we should not accept it. We must act,” he said.
More:FedEx shooting in Indianapolis: What we know about shooting that left 8 dead
Indianapolis Police responded to the FedEx Ground facility on the city’s southwest side just after 11 p.m. Thursday in response to reports of shots fired. Four people died outside and four died inside including the shooter, who police said died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police are still seeking a motive.
In just the past month, the U.S mourned eight killed March 16 at three spas in the Atlanta and 10 people killed less than a week later inside a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. The White House also lowered flags after a driver April 2 rammed his car into two officers and a barricade near the U.S. Capitol, killing Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans.
Biden calls on Congress to move fast on background checks, assault weapon ban after Boulder shootingsigned six executive orders on guns that includes tightening restrictions on so-called ghost guns, or untraceable weapons that can be constructed from parts purchased online.
He’s also pushing for passage of three bills that address gun background checks that have passed the House but face uphill battles in the evenly divided Senate. One would expand background checks on individuals seeking to purchase or transfer firearms, while another would close the so-called Charleston loophole, which allows gun sales to proceed without a completed background check if three business days have passed.
“Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence. It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation,” Biden said.
More:Biden looks to stem ‘ghost guns,’ unveils other steps to curb gun violence ‘epidemic’
The Justice Department, under Biden’s direction, is working on proposing a rule in the coming weeks to close a regulatory loophole that allows ghost guns, which lack serial numbers, to be purchased without a background check.
At Friday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki said, “This is actually the third mass shooting in Indianapolis this year,” a reference to other shootings in the city that killed multiple people.
Biden noted that Friday also marked the 14th anniversary of a shooting at Virginia Tech University that killed 33 people.
“We can, and must, do more to act and to save lives,” Biden said. “God bless the eight fellow Americans we lost in Indianapolis and their loved ones, and we pray for the wounded for their recovery.”
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.