Texas mall shooting prompts Biden to renew call for gun control

May 7 (Reuters) – US President Joe Biden on Sunday called on Congress to pass gun control laws in the wake of yet another mass shooting that killed nine people, including the gunman, at a Texas mall on Saturday.

The Democratic president again called on Congress to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, implement universal background checks and end immunity for gun manufacturers. The narrowly divided House and Senate are unlikely to pass such legislation, though polls show that most Americans support background checks.

Biden, who has previously made similar requests, said the attacker at the Allen Premium Outlets mall in Allen, a northern Dallas suburb, was wearing tactical gear and armed with an AR-15-style assault weapon.

The gunman killed eight people, including children, and injured at least seven before a police officer killed him, police said Saturday.

Mass shootings have become commonplace in the United States, with at least 199 so far in 2023, the most at this point in the year since at least 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit defines a mass shooting as a shooting in which four or more people are injured or killed, not counting the shooter.

As of Sunday morning, police had not yet released details about the identity of the suspect or a possible motive. The identities of the victims have also not been released.

“We don’t have anything to disclose at this time,” Sergeant Jonathan Maness of the Allen Police Department told Reuters. “It’s a lot of moving parts here.”

Officials said three people who had been transported to area hospitals were in critical condition as of Saturday, while four had been stabilized.

A 10-second graphic video shared on Twitter on Saturday showed several dead bodies slumped against a planter and a white wall with retailer H&M’s sign.

At least one of the persons, lifeless and bloodied, appears to be a young child. Reuters was able to verify that the video was shot in the mall where the shooting took place.

In previous recordings, social media sites worked to remove links to such graphics. An emailed request for comment to Twitter, which no longer has a communications team, returned an automated response with a poop emoji.

Some Twitter users said that people and politicians needed to see videos like this to understand the magnitude and horrific nature of gun violence.

Others said it should be removed.

“There is nothing virtuous or ethical about displaying easily identifiable dead children and adults whose families may not yet know they are dead,” wrote Emily Bell, a professor and the director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia. University. “It’s highly unethical – it robs victims and their families of privacy and dignity in death. It only serves Musk’s click farm.”


The tragedy in Allen, which came just over a week after another fatal shooting in the Texas city of Cleveland, reignited the heated debate over gun control in the United States.

The Second Amendment to the US Constitution protects the right to bear arms, and that issue is a hot button for many Republicans, who are supported by millions of donations from gun rights groups and manufacturers.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, called the shooting “devastating” in a Sunday morning interview on Fox News, but said the way to effectively address gun violence lies in addressing mental health.

“There has been a dramatic increase in the amount of anger and violence that is happening in America,” he said. “We’re working to address that anger and violence by going to its cause, which is addressing the mental health issues behind it.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats stressed the need to pass stricter gun safety legislation to curb gun violence.

On Saturday, TV antennas showed hundreds of people calmly walking out of the mall about 25 miles northeast of Dallas after the violence unfolded, many raising their hands as dozens of police officers stood guard.

An unidentified eyewitness told local ABC affiliate WFAA TV that the gunman was “walking down the sidewalk, just… firing his gun out.”

Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York, Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas, Moira Warburton in Washington, and Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Edited by Lisa Shumaker

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

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