President Biden announced Wednesday that he will be traveling to Texas "in the coming days" to meet with the families mourning the loss of their loved ones after a gunman killed 19 children and two adults at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde on Tuesday.
"Jill and I will be traveling to Texas in the coming days to meet with the families, and let them know that we have a sense of their pain, and hopefully bring some little comfort to the community in shock and grief and in trauma," Biden said at the White House during a signing event for an executive order on police reform.
“As a nation, I think we all must be there for them. Everyone,” Biden said. “And we must ask when in God’s name will we do what needs to be done to — if not completely stop — fundamentally change the amount of the carnage that goes on in this country.”
Echoing remarks he made shortly after returning from Asia on Tuesday, Biden said he was “sick and tired of what’s going on.”
He said “common sense” gun reform wouldn’t “prevent every tragedy,” but would still “have significant impact, and have no negative impact on the second amendment.”
“The second amendment is not absolute,” Biden said. “When it was passed you couldn’t own a cannon. You couldn’t own certain kinds of weapons. There’s just always been limitations.”
“Where’s the backbone?,” he asked. “Where’s the courage to stand up to a very powerful lobby?”
The President said “one modest step” Congress could take immediately would be to confirm his nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Steve Dettelbach, who vowed earlier Wednesday he would not be influenced by political considerations if he secures the job at a Senate confirmation hearing.
“The Senate should confirm him without delay, without excuse,” Biden said. “Send the nomination to my desk. It's time for action.”
Vice President Kamala Harris also addressed the shooting as she began her remarks.
“I know that today, following yesterday, that all of our hearts, of course, are with the people of Uvalde, Texas, with the parents, with the children, with all the folks that said goodbye yesterday morning to someone they loved not knowing that that goodbye would be their last,” she said.
“Enough is enough,” Harris continued. “As the President said last night, we must have the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and pass reasonable gun safety laws.”
CNN's Nikki Carvajal and Maegan Vazquez contributed reporting to this post.