President Joe Biden said Tuesday night that the United States should "stand up to the gun lobby" after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas.
"I am sick and tired of it. We have to act," Biden said in emotional remarks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House. He called the shooting a "carnage."
"The gun manufacturers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons which make them the most and largest profit," he continued. "We have to have the courage to stand up to the industry."
At least 19 children and two adults were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday.
The suspect, identified as 18-year-old Uvalde High School student Salvador Rolando Ramos, was killed by responding officers.
"The idea that an 18-year-old kid can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is just wrong," noted Biden, who just returned from a trip to Asia.
"What struck me was these kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world," he pointed out. "These kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency that they happen in America."
The United States has seen at least 212 mass shootings so far this year, according to an online database that keeps a record of the country's gun violence incidents.
More than 17,000 people have died in gun-related episodes across the United States over the past five months, including approximately 640 children and teenagers.
"Tonight, there are parents who will never see their child again. Parents who will never be the same," Biden said, calling for efforts to "turn this pain into action."
"We can do so much more. We have to do more," he added.
March for Our Lives, a student-led movement supporting gun control legislation, tweeted that "you can't stop a bullet with thoughts and prayers."
"To honor those lost and save countless lives, we need action," the group wrote. "We're dying while we wait for it."
Tuesday's massacre is the deadliest American school shooting since the rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, nearly a decade ago.
Uvalde, about 136 km west of San Antonio, is located near the U.S. southern border.