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'Once again, I have the solemn duty of ordering the flag lowered,' Biden says after Indianapolis shooting

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 4/19/2021 Joey Garrison, USA TODAY
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WASHINGTON — For the fourth time in less than five weeks, President Joe Biden ordered the flag at the White House to be lowered to half-staff Friday after an overnight shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis killed eight people.

Biden remarked on the sad routineness of the order in a statement on the latest mass shooting in the U.S.

"While we await critical details about the shooting, its motivation and other key information," Biden said, "once again, I have the solemn duty of ordering the flag lowered at half-staff at the White House, public buildings and grounds, and military posts and embassies, just two weeks after I gave the last such order."

a group of people walking in front of a building: The flag above the White House flies at half staff in honor of the Indianapolis, Indiana shooting victims, in Washington, DC on April 16, 2021 as an honor guard setting up for the arrival for Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is seen walking by. © MANDEL NGAN, AFP via Getty Images The flag above the White House flies at half staff in honor of the Indianapolis, Indiana shooting victims, in Washington, DC on April 16, 2021 as an honor guard setting up for the arrival for Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is seen walking by.

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Yet again, he said, another shooting shows why action is needed to curb gun violence through "commonsense gun violence prevention legislation."

"Gun violence is an epidemic in America. But we should not accept it. We must act," he said.

More: FedEx shooting in Indianapolis: What we know about shooting that left 8 dead

Indianapolis Police responded to the FedEx Ground facility on the city's southwest side just after 11 p.m. Thursday in response to reports of shots fired. Four people died outside and four died inside plus the shooter, who police said died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police are still seeking a motive.

Biden called gun violence in the U.S. "a national embarrassment" during a news conference Friday after hosting Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga at the White House. He defended moving forward on a $2.25 trillion infrastructure package while legislative action on gun control lags, arguing both can be tackled at the same time.

"Who in God's name needs a weapon that can hold 100 rounds, or 40 rounds, or 20 rounds?" Biden said. "It's just wrong. And I'm not going to give up until it's done."

In just the past month, the U.S mourned eight killed March 16 at three spas in the Atlanta and 10 people killed less than a week later inside a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado. The White House also lowered flags after a driver April 2 rammed his car into two officers and a barricade near the U.S. Capitol, killing Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans.

"Last night and into the morning in Indianapolis, yet again families had to wait to hear word about the fate of their loved ones," Biden said. "What a cruel wait and fate that has become too normal and happens every day somewhere in our nation."

'We have to act': Biden calls on Congress to move fast on background checks, assault weapon ban after Boulder shooting

Earlier this month — with gun control activists and families of gun victims on hand — Biden signed six executive orders on guns that includes tightening restrictions on so-called ghost guns, or untraceable weapons that can be constructed from parts purchased online.

He's also pushing for passage of three bills that address gun background checks that have passed the House but face uphill battles in the evenly divided Senate. One would expand background checks on individuals seeking to purchase or transfer firearms, while another would close the so-called Charleston loophole, which allows gun sales to proceed without a completed background check if three business days have passed.

"Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence. It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation," Biden said.

More: Biden looks to stem 'ghost guns,' unveils other steps to curb gun violence 'epidemic'

a green traffic light at night: The scene outside a FedEx facility in Indianapolis where multiple people were reportedly shot late Thursday night, April 15, 2021. © AP The scene outside a FedEx facility in Indianapolis where multiple people were reportedly shot late Thursday night, April 15, 2021.

The Justice Department, under Biden's direction, is working on proposing a rule in the coming weeks to close a regulatory loophole that allows ghost guns, which lack serial numbers, to be purchased without a background check.

At Friday's White House press briefing, press secretary Jen Psaki said, “This is actually the third mass shooting in Indianapolis this year," a reference to other shootings in the city that killed multiple people.

Biden noted that Friday also marked the 14th anniversary of a shooting at Virginia Tech University that killed 33 people.

"We can, and must, do more to act and to save lives," Biden said. "God bless the eight fellow Americans we lost in Indianapolis and their loved ones, and we pray for the wounded for their recovery."

Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Once again, I have the solemn duty of ordering the flag lowered,' Biden says after Indianapolis shooting

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