At least 19 children and two adults were killed on Tuesday after a shooting at an elementary school in the US southern state of Texas, authorities said. The shooting took place in the small city of Uvalde, home to around 16,000 people, including a large Latino community. It is around 137 kilometers (85 miles) from San Antonio, near the Mexican border.

US President Joe Biden ordered US flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House, military posts, naval vessels and US embassies as a “mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence.”

Biden, who had just returned from a trip to Asia, delivered an emotional address later on Tuesday.

He said that he got the news while on his 17-hour flight back to Washington, when “it struck” him that “these kind of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world. Why?”

“As a nation, we have to ask, when in god’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” he said, as Congress has repeatedly failed to pass gun control legislation. The blocking of such bills is largely attributed to pressure from the powerful National Rifle Association lobby.

“It is time to turn this pain into action,” Biden said.


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