President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are scheduled to travel to Lewiston, Maine, on Friday to offer their condolences following the tragic mass shooting last week, which claimed the lives of 18 individuals.
A statement from the White House explained that the President and First Lady intend to pay their respects to the victims of this dreadful attack, offer support to grieving families and community members, and meet with first responders, nurses, and other individuals at the forefront of the response efforts.
The visit follows a two-day manhunt that led to the discovery of the suspect, who had been accused of killing over a dozen people, ranging in age from 14 to 76, and injuring 13 more at a bowling alley and a restaurant. Concerns persist regarding potential warning signs preceding the rampage and the authorities’ handling of the situation.
Last week, President Biden expressed his commitment to providing all necessary support to the people of Maine and reiterated his call for Congress to pass legislation addressing gun violence. He urged Republicans to fulfill their duty to safeguard the American people.
In response to the tragedy, the White House dispatched Greg Jackson, the deputy director of its gun violence prevention office, to Maine at the request of the state’s governor. Jackson’s mission is to support the community after the Lewiston tragedy and coordinate federal assistance for community needs.
The gun violence prevention office, led by Vice President Kamala Harris and established in September, aims to address the nationwide issue of firearm-related injuries and fatalities.
President Biden has expressed frustration with the lack of congressional action on the matter and has acknowledged the limitations of his executive powers in enacting further gun control measures. During a fundraiser, he criticized the use of high-capacity magazines. He reiterated his call to reinstate an assault weapons ban, although the passage of such legislation in a divided Congress appears unlikely.
Notably, President Biden has not visited all of the locations of the at least 586 mass shootings documented by the Gun Violence Archive in 2023. However, in March, he visited Monterey Park, California, where a mass shooting at a dance studio claimed the lives of 11 people in January.
In the aftermath of the Lewiston shooting, the Gun Violence Archive recorded 13 additional mass shootings over Halloween weekend, resulting in the death of at least 12 people and injuries to numerous individuals across various states.