Pope Francis says that his heart is broken over the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, and that the U.S. must act to prevent the spread of guns.
"I am praying for the children and adults who were killed, and for their families. It is time to say enough to the indiscriminate trafficking of arms," Francis said on Wednesday, during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.
In the attack, 19 students and two adults died. The 18-year-old gunman, who lived in Uvalde, reportedly bought at least two semi-automatic rifles after his most recent birthday.
People should be working now, the pope said, to ensure a similar tragedy can never happen again. In the U.S., his sentiment was shared by another senior Catholic leader: Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago.
"The Second Amendment did not come down from Sinai," Cupich said via Twitter. "The right to bear arms will never be more important than human life. Our children have rights too. And our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them."
The cardinal noted that research has shown the expired federal ban on certain rifles was effective in preventing the terror of mass shootings.
"As I reflect on this latest American massacre, I keep returning to the questions: Who are we as a nation if we do not act to protect our children? What do we love more: our instruments of death or our future?" Cupich asked.
There have been 27 school shootings so far this year in the U.S., according to Education Week, which tracks gun violence on K-12 school properties.