President Joe Biden reacted to the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo on Friday, using his death to again condemn “gun violence.”
“While there are many details that we do not yet know, we know that violent attacks are never acceptable and that gun violence always leaves a deep scar on the communities that are affected by it,” Biden said in his statement.
The president was late to react to the news of Abe’s assassination, issuing a statement just before 9:00 a.m. EST.
“I am stunned, outraged, and deeply saddened by the news that my friend Abe Shinzo, former Prime Minister of Japan, was shot and killed while campaigning,” Biden said in his statement.
The president also expressed sadness that Abe was “engaged in the work of democracy” when he was shot and killed.
Other leaders showed more urgency in expressing their condolences to Japan and the Abe family. Former President Donald Trump first reacted to the shooting of Abe around 1:00 a.m. EST and then later to news of his death at around 5:00 a.m., as Breitbart News reported.
Abe was shot in the neck and the chest on the street in Nara City Friday while campaigning for the Upper House election.
Police identified the shooting suspect as Yamagami Tetsuya, 41, who allegedly shot the former prime minister with a handmade gun. Japan has some of the world’s strictest gun control laws, as they only allow citizens to purchase shotguns and air rifles after a lengthy legal process.
In recent weeks, Biden has escalated his calls for gun control, citing an “epidemic of gun violence” in the United States after several mass shootings.
The president has demanded that Congress ban some models of semi-automatic rifles deemed as “assault weapons” as well as limit the capacity of ammunition magazines.