Joe Biden, the President of the United States, paid Tuesday tribute to Sandy Hook Elementary School’s victims. Biden said the country owed the Sandy Hook families action and not only prayers.

In a video message released by the White House, Biden called the day that 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, including 20 children between six and seven years old, and six adult staff members, ‘one of the saddest days’ that he and Barack Obama were in office.

Sandy Hook was the most fatal mass shooting in American history at an elementary school and fourth deadliest overall. 

Biden at the time was vice-president.

“We were close to legislation but came up short,” he said. It was so frustrating.

He noted the same frustration was felt by families in the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and from the families in last month’s shooting in Oxford, Michigan.

Then he called for action. 

“We owe them more than prayers. They owe us action,” he stated.

“We cannot give up on hope.” We can’t stop,’ Biden added. 

He asked the Senate for legislation to be passed by Chris Murphy (Democratic Senator from Connecticut) that would increase federal background checks in all gun sales.

Biden asked for the Senate’s approval of a bill by Senators Jeanne Shaheen Maggie Hassan and Amy Klobuchar, which would end the so-called boyfriend loophole’. The bill would prevent people who have abused dating partners from buying or owning firearms and stop convicted stalkers from possessing a gun. 

To move these bills through the legislative process, however, they would require 10 Republicans senators to support them. It is highly unlikely. 

Two House-passed legislation to expand background checks are currently stuck in the Senate. 

In a November poll, just 52% of Americans say that the ‘laws covering the sales of firearms’ should be stricter than they currently are, the lowest number that Gallup has measured on the question since 2014. Gallup heard from 64% of respondents that they want stricter gun legislation in 2019, a record low since 2014.

However, a larger majority of Americans favor universal background checks.

An opinion poll conducted by Politico/Morning Consultingt in March found 84% support the law mandating background checks on all gun purchases. This includes over three-quarters (and 82%) of Republicans as well as 82% of Independents. 

President Joe called on the Senate to pass universal background checks and a law that would close the 'boyfriend loophole'

President Joe requested that the Senate pass universal background checks, and close the boyfriend loophole’.

Sandy Hook was the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary school in U.S. history, and the fourth-deadliest mass shooting overall - above two Connecticut State Police officers accompany a class of students, and two adults, out of the school on the day of shooting

Sandy Hook was the most deadly mass shooting in American history at an elementary school and fourth deadliest overall. On the morning of shooting, more than two Connecticut State Police officers accompanied a class consisting of two students and two adults out of school.

Local residents place flowers near the Sandy Hook Elementary School December 15, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary School is the scene of flowers being placed by local residents on December 15, 2012.

According to Everytown for Gun Safety. A gun control advocacy group, there were at minimum 149 instances of gunfire on school premises in 2021. This resulted 32 deaths and 94 injuries.

Biden took advantage of the presidency’s power to sign executive orders to try to limit gun sales. 

He is now attempting to tighten regulations on homemade firearms known as ‘ghost weapons’. These are guns that have no serial number to track them, and they often go unchecked. In addition, he is working to increase regulations for pistol-stabilizing braces, like that used in Boulder Colorado’s March shooting, which left 10 people dead. 

In addition, $5 billion is available for violence prevention programs through the President’s Build Back better Act. 

However, he cannot take many actions with an executive order. This is a sign of the limitations to his power.

These orders won’t impact the sale or purchase of assault weapons. They also will not close loopholes that permit buyers to avoid background checks online and at gun shows. The Giffords Law Center is a national gun control advocate. According to it, five percent of US guns are sold without a background screening. 

He’s also fallen short on his 2020 presidential campaign promises.

Biden pledged to prohibit the importation assault weapons and vowed that he would embrace a voluntary program for gun purchaseback. He also promised resources to the Justice Department, FBI and other agencies to help better enforce and track firearms. 

Even though the US is still experiencing a coronavirus pandemic, mass shootings are on the rise.

According to the Gun Violence Archive (which defines mass shooting as four people or more injured or killed in a shooting), there were 669 mass shootings and 27 murders in 2021. 

On December 14, 2012, the day of the Sandy Hook shooting, Lanza shot and killed his mother at their Newtown home. Lanza killed himself by taking his own life as the first response team arrived at the school.

On the morning of the shootings President Barack Obama addressed the nation via televised speech, asking for unity and taking meaningful actions to stop more tragedies.

After the tragedy, he went to Newtown with victim families.