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Biden Urges Unity to Stem Racial Hate  05/16 06:10


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Joe Biden urged unity Sunday to address the 
"hate that remains a stain on the soul of America" after a deadly mass shooting 
at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, while state officials pleaded for 
federal action to end the "uniquely American phenomenon" of mass shootings.

   Addressing an annual law enforcement ceremony at the U.S. Capitol, Biden 
said he and his wife, Jill, pray for those who were shot "by a lone gunman, 
armed with weapons of war and hate-filled soul," and their families.

   Authorities say a white 18-year-old male in military gear opened fire on 
shoppers and workers at the supermarket on Saturday, killing 10 people, 
including a retired Buffalo police officer, and wounding three others. Most of 
the victims were Black.

   Law enforcement officials said Sunday that the gunman had researched the 
local demographics while looking for places with a high concentration of Black 

   "We must all work together to address the hate that remains a stain on the 
soul of America," Biden said at the 41st annual National Peace Officers' 
Memorial Service honoring fallen law enforcement officers. "Our hearts are 
heavy once again, but the resolve must never, ever waver."

   "No one understands this more than the people sitting in front of me," he 
added. The White House said the Bidens would travel to Buffalo on Tuesday to 
grieve with the community.

   Biden, speaking at the ceremony for the second time as president, did not 
address the calls by New York officials -- Gov. Kathy Hochul and Buffalo Mayor 
Byron Brown -- for strong federal action to end what Brown said is the 
"uniquely American phenomenon" of mass shootings.

   The president also did not mention gun control efforts that have stalled in 

   Brown expressed frustration that "thoughts and prayers" and pledges to act 
are offered after every mass shooting, only to be be blocked by "some on one 
side of the aisle."

   "It seems like there are those that believe owning a gun is more precious 
than the sanctity of human life," the mayor told NBC's "Meet the Press." "So I 
think people all across this country have to rise up. They have to speak more 
loudly and more clearly that there must be gun control in this country. This is 
a uniquely American phenomenon. These mass shootings don't happen in other 
countries across the world."

   Brown said he would like to see "sensible gun control."

   House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said tighter gun measures are "a huge 
priority" for Democrats and the White House. She bemoaned the 60-vote threshold 
needed in the 50-50 Senate that has made it difficult to advance such 
legislation, but she pledged on CNN's "State of the Union" that "we are not 
going away until the job is done."

   Hochul said most of the illegal guns being used on the streets of her cities 
come from other states. "We need a national response," she told NBC.

   "We need other states to step up. We need the federal government on our 
side," said Hochul, a Buffalo native.

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