Biden decries gun violence, saying 'we have to stand stronger'

US President Joe Biden takes a selfie with University of Delaware president Dennis Assanis. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - President Joe Biden decried US gun violence after two mass shootings in two weeks, telling university graduates in his home state of Delaware "we must stand stronger" to make the country safer, including for children.

Mr Biden addressed the University of Delaware commencement ceremony a day before he's due to visit Uvalde, Texas, where a shooter who legally bought two assault rifles killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school on Tuesday (May 24).

He also cited a May 14 mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket, which he linked to "white supremacy".

"In the face of such destructive forces, we have to stand stronger," Mr Biden said on Saturday.

"We cannot outlaw tragedy, I know, but we can make America safer. We can finally do what we have to to protect the lives of the people and of our children."

While short of an explicit call for new gun-control measures, Mr Biden's comments were in line with his demand after the Texas shooting for Americans to "stand up to the gun lobby".

The mass shootings are the latest crisis to consume the White House, which has spent the last year-and-a-half dealing with a pandemic, inflation and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Biden sought to convey a hopeful message at his alma mater, telling the 2022 graduates that it's possible to overcome the political battles of "mindless competing factions" and move the country forward "when we begin to see each other again not as enemies, but as neighbours".

University of Delaware graduates attend their the graduation ceremony at Delaware Stadium. PHOTO: AFP

His speech coincided with the second day of the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Houston, where a series of speakers on Friday, including former president Donald Trump, rejected tighter gun control and defended the right to bear arms.

The University of Delaware is home to the Joseph R. Biden Jr School of Public Policy and Administration and the Biden Institute, a think tank focused on public policy.

Mr Biden has spoken at five different University of Delaware commencement ceremonies in 1978, 1987, 2004, 2014 and 2022.

Both his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and his sister, Ms Valerie Owens, graduated from the university.

The President graduated in 1965 with a double major in history and political science.

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