WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sunday marked three years since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, which left 14 students and three educators dead.
On the anniversary, President Joe Biden released a statement in which he honored the victims and vowed to take action to combat gun violence in the United States.
Biden wrote that his administration won’t wait for the next mass shooting to “heed the call.”
“We will take action to end our epidemic of gun violence and make our schools and communities safer,” wrote Biden.
The president said he’s calling on Congress to enact “commonsense gun law reforms,” including requiring background checks on all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and eliminating immunity for gun manufacturers who knowingly put “weapons of war” on the country’s streets.
“We owe it to all those we’ve lost and to all those left behind to grieve to make a change. The time to act is now,” Biden wrote.
Biden also honored the families of the Parkland victims, who continue to mourn their loved ones.
“For three years now, the Parkland families have spent birthdays and holidays without their loved ones,” wrote Biden. “They’ve missed out on the experience of sending their children off to college or seeing them on their first job after high school. Like far too many families, they’ve had to bury pieces of their soul deep within the Earth. Like far too many families — and, indeed, like our nation — they’ve been left to wonder whether things would ever be okay.”
He said the Parkland families are not alone though and mentioned the many families who know the pain of losing someone to gun violence, especially communities of color, who are disproportionately affected.
“The Parkland students and so many other young people across the country who have experienced gun violence are carrying forward the history of the American journey,” wrote Biden. “It is a history written by young people in each generation who challenged prevailing dogma to demand a simple truth: we can do better. And we will.”