Biden, 'Devastated' By Boulder Shooting, Asks Senate to Act on House Gun Control Bills

President Joe Biden said he's "devastated" by the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, that left 10 people dead—just days after a separate mass killing that left eight people dead in Georgia.

"While the flag was still flying half staff, another American city has been scarred by gun violence and resulting trauma," Biden told reporters at the White House on Tuesday, hours after a gunman opened fire inside a King Sooper's grocery store, killing 10 people, including a responding police officer.

He called on lawmakers to expedite two measures that have passed the Democrat-controlled U.S. House, which would require more rigorous background checks for gun purchases.

"I don't need to wait another minute—or another hour—to take common sense steps that will save lives in the future," Biden said.

Biden noted the long-term mental impacts that people are feeling "through too many of these" shootings.

"I just can't imagine how the families are feeling," he said.

Biden has been briefed regularly since the shooting happened Monday night.

"We don't have all the information," Biden said. "As president, I'm going to use all the resources at my disposal to keep the American people safe."

Authorities have identified the suspect as 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, of Arvada, Colorado, but have not elaborated on a possible motive.

After his brief remarks on Tuesday, Biden was set to travel to Ohio, where he plans to promote the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus relief package and the 11th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act under then-President Barack Obama, while Biden was vice president.

Less than a week ago, ahead of Biden's planned trip to Atlanta, Georgia, to tout the passage of his nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan, the Atlanta metro area was rocked by shootings at three spas that killed eight people, including six women of Asian descent. Biden altered his plans and instead met with area leaders from the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

"I said from the beginning of my campaign for president that we needed to come together; that we needed to unite as one people, one nation, one America," Biden said during a public address following that meeting.

The Georgia shooting suspect, Robert Aaron Long, is in custody and faces multiple counts of murder and aggravated assault.

Biden described gun violence as another "public health crisis" that the country faces as it also battles the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier in the day on Tuesday, at the U.S. Capitol about two miles from the White House, a Senate panel heard from witnesses and debated Democratic-backed gun restrictions, including more rigorous background check requirements.

"Congress should do its job, keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't own them—people who have been convicted of a felony and mentally unstable, threatening spouses and girlfriends and others," Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who chairs the Judiciary Committee, told reporters. "We need to do more than reflect, we need to act. We need to show that we care and prevent the next mass shooting if we can."

Biden urged Congress to act to ban assault rifles and close gun loopholes.

"The United States Senate should immediately pass the two House-passed bills to close loopholes in the background check system," Biden said. "We have to act."

Boulder shooting
Healthcare workers walk out of a King Sooper's Grocery store after a gunman opened fire on March 22, 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. Dozens of police responded to the afternoon shooting in which at least one witness described three people who appeared to be wounded, according to published reports. Chet Strange/Getty Images