Jill Biden: ‘It’s up to Congress to act’ on gun safety laws

Jun 17, 2022, 10:35 AM | Updated: 6:47 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — First lady Jill Biden, a longtime teacher, said Friday she’s often wondered if her own students would be the next “heartbreaking headline” as she urged parents and teachers to speak up and demand that Congress pass tougher gun safety measures.

“There are no excuses. It’s up to Congress to act,” Biden said in a speech to the National PTA Convention meeting in a Maryland suburb of Washington. “And they represent the will of the people and that’s why we need the people to speak up. Parents and teachers, all of us.”

“We need to fight, now, for the lives of our children and for the safety of our schools,” she said.

The first lady, who has taught for nearly 40 years and teaches English and writing at Northern Virginia Community College, said she often imagines the terrifying scene of a school shooter playing out in her own classroom.

She said she explains to her students on the first day of class how they can escape “if the worst happens” and acknowledged that “I’ve wondered over the years if my students would be the next heartbreaking headline.”

She added: “So Congress did not act after Columbine, after Sandy Hook, after Parkland,” referencing some of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. “Nothing changed, and nothing will change unless we change it.”

The first lady echoed top advisers to her husband, who say President Joe Biden has milked his executive authority to address gun violence and that next steps are up to Congress.

President Biden has called for a range of gun safety measures, including reinstating a long-expired ban on the type of assault-style weapons that were used in the New York and Texas shootings.

A group of Democratic and Republican senators last weekend announced the elements of a compromise acceptable to both sides, minus the assault-weapons ban. The lawmakers have spent this week working to finalize a bill that can be voted on by a self-imposed early July deadline.

In brief remarks at the Parent Teacher Association convention, the first lady recalled her visit last month with the president to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 pupils and two teachers in adjoining classrooms were gunned down by an 18-year-old male who was later killed by police.

She described touching the photos of the “bright, beautiful faces that would never again laugh or open birthday presents or tell their parents that they love them.”

“And I laid down white roses on a sea of colorful flowers, the offerings of a town broken by grief, just as I had done in Buffalo, New York, one week before,” the first lady said, referring to the couple’s earlier visit to the scene of a racist attack on a supermarket that left 10 Black people dead.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

14 hours ago

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

3 days ago

Near-total abortion ban in Arizona dates back to Civil War era...

Associated Press

Near-total abortion ban dates back to 1864, during the Civil War, before Arizona was a state

The near-total abortion ban resurrected last week by the Arizona Supreme Court dates to 1864, when settlers were encroaching on tribal lands.

3 days ago

Tracy Toulou...

Associated Press

How to tackle crime in Indian Country? Empower tribal justice, ex-Justice Department official says

A recently retired director of the Justice Dept. says the federal government hasn't given tribal justice systems equal recognition.

4 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson...

Associated Press

House Speaker Mike Johnson says he will push for aid to Israel and Ukraine this week

House Speaker Mike Johnson said Sunday he will try to advance wartime aid for Israel this week, along with funding for Ukraine.

4 days ago

President Joe Biden speaks at a campaign rally Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Pullman Yards in Atlanta...

Associated Press

US shoots down ‘nearly all’ Iran-launched attack drones as Biden vows support for Israel’s defense

Joe Biden cut short a weekend stay at his beach house to meet with his national security team as Iran launched an attack against Israel.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Jill Biden: ‘It’s up to Congress to act’ on gun safety laws