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Biden will travel to Lewiston, Maine, Friday in wake of mass shooting

<i>Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images</i><br/>President Joe Biden seen on June 30
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
President Joe Biden seen on June 30

By Jack Forrest and Aileen Graef, CNN

(CNN) — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Lewiston, Maine, on Friday, to pay their respects after 18 people were killed there in a mass shooting last week.

“The President and First Lady will pay respects to the victims of this horrific attack and grieve with families and community members, as well as meet with first responders, nurses, and others on the front lines of the response,” the White House said in statement.

The visit comes after authorities concluded a two-day manhunt for the suspect, who was accused of killing more than a dozen people ranging in age from 14 to 76 and wounding 13 more in a bowling alley and a restaurant, after he was found dead last week. Questions remain over possible warning signs prior to the rampage and officials’ handling of them.

Biden said in a statement last week that his administration would continue “to provide everything that is needed to support the people of Maine.” He also reiterated his call for Congress to pass legislation addressing gun violence and urged Republicans to “fulfill their obligation to keep the American people safe.”

The White House over the weekend dispatched the deputy director of its gun violence prevention office, Greg Jackson, to Maine at the request of the state’s governor to “support the community in the wake of the Lewiston tragedy” and to coordinate federal support for community needs, according to White House spokeswoman Olivia Dalton.

The gun violence prevention office, established in September and led by Vice President Kamala Harris, is intended to address the national epidemic of firearm injury and death.

Biden has voiced frustration at lack of action in Congress on the issue and has suggested his executive powers are limited in enacting further gun control.

Speaking at a fundraiser on Friday evening, the president criticized the use of high-capacity magazines. He has previously made calls to renew an assault weapons ban, but there is little likelihood of such a measure passing through a divided Congress.

“Who the hell needs an assault weapon that can hold, in some cases, up to 100 rounds?” Biden said at the fundraiser in Washington.

The president has not visited all of the sites of the at least 586 mass shootings – compiled by the Gun Violence Archive as shootings where four or more are shot excluding the shooter – so far across the county in 2023, but in March he visit Monterey Park, California, where 11 people were killed in a mass shooting at a dance studio in January.

Just days after the Lewiston shooting, the GVA recorded 13 mass shootings over Halloween weekend that killed at least 12 people and wounded dozens across several states.

This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Donald Judd, Daniel Dale, Nouran Salahieh, Shimon ProkupeczHaley Britzky, Ashley R. Williams, Sara SmartJohn MillerAya Elamroussi, Andy Rose and Alaa Elassar contributed to this report.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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