Bidens ‘surprised’ by Highland Park shooting as White House marks Fourth of July

“Jill and I are shocked by yet again senseless gun violence for an American community this Independence Day,” the president said in at least one statement on Monday. six people killed At a shooting in Highland Park, Illinois during the Fourth of July parade.
Biden noted that he had “enhanced federal law enforcement to assist in the immediate search for the shooter, which remains largely the case at the moment,” and pointed out that gun safety law They recently signed it into law. “But there is much more to do, and I will not stop fighting the gun violence epidemic,” he said.

Later on Monday, Biden declined to say whether strict gun laws would have prevented the fatal shooting, when pressed by CNN’s MJ Lee. “We don’t know the circumstances yet,” he said.

In her statement, Vice President Kamala Harris, who is in California for the holidays, referred to the recently signed legislation, but said, “Today’s shooting is an unmistakable reminder that more must be done to address gun violence in our country.” ”

Recalling the Fourth of July with military families at the White House later in the afternoon, Biden referred to the new gun safety law and the Illinois shooting, saying, “You all heard what happened today. … every day we remember Nothing is guaranteed about our democracy, nothing is guaranteed about our way of life.”

The president called on Americans to fight for democracy, acknowledging the broad national challenges.

“Our economy is growing, but not without pain. Liberty is under attack — an attack here and abroad,” he said last month, pointing to the US Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“In recent times, there has been reason to think that this country is moving backwards. That freedom has waned. The rights we once assumed are no longer there—a reminder that we belong to the soul of America.” have remained in a perpetual battle, as we have for more than 200 years.”

Fourth of July holiday comes amid challenging times for the nation deep division, inflation And a recent set of polls It shows that the vast majority of Americans across party lines are unhappy with the situation in America.
in one AP-NORC Survey Released last week, 85% of US adults say things are going in the wrong direction in the country, with only 14% believing things are going in the right direction. This is a more pessimistic reading than in May, when 78% said things were headed the wrong way and 21% said things were generally headed in the right direction. And currently, both 92% of Republicans and 78% of Democrats are dissatisfied with the direction of the country – the highest number among Democrats since Biden took office last year.

Still, Biden attempted to reassure Americans, saying, “I know this can be exhausting and upsetting, but tonight I want you to know that we’re going to get over this.” Huh.”

America, he emphasized, is and will always be a “work in progress”.

“It often happens that big steps forward are followed by a few steps back. And after working hard to lay the foundation for a better future, the worst of our past has come to the fore. And opportunity pulls us back. But I know this: From the deepest depths of our worst woes, we’ve always reached our heights,” Biden told the crowd on the South Lawn. “We’ve always come out better than we went in.”

Earlier in the day, Biden issued a forward-looking statement about how “the best days are still ahead.”

Biden said in a statement, “The Fourth of July is a holy day in our country – it is a time to celebrate the goodness of our country, which is the only nation on earth founded on the idea that all people should be equal. has been made.” Tweet, “Make no mistake, our best days are still ahead.”

This story has been updated with additional development.

CNN’s Shawna Mizell and Ariel Edwards-Levy contributed to this report.