Mourners in the south-central American state prepare for last rites, a week after a teenage gunman shot dead 19 small children and two teachers, even as President Biden vows to push for a "more rational" approach to gun regulation.

Relatives of Amelie Jo Garza, one of the victims of the Robb Elementary school mass shooting, enter the funeral home to pay their respect, in Uvalde, Texas.
Relatives of Amelie Jo Garza, one of the victims of the Robb Elementary school mass shooting, enter the funeral home to pay their respect, in Uvalde, Texas. (Reuters)

Grieving families are to hold the first funerals for Texas massacre victims one week after a school shooting left 19 children and two teachers dead, with President Joe Biden vowing to push for stricter US gun regulation.

Mourners attended wakes in the town of Uvalde on Monday for some of the child victims gunned down by a local 18-year-old man who was then killed by police.

At one funeral home –– just across the street from Robb Elementary School where the shooting occurred –– friends, family and strangers attended a closed-casket visitation for 10-year-old victim Amerie Jo Garza. Pictures of the young girl decorated the space.

Esther Rubio, who described the scene as "very somber," came from nearby San Antonio with her husband.

"I don't know what else to say, because there's no words to describe (it)," she said.

Remembrances for another slain student, Maite Rodriguez, began just hours later.

"Its been a traumatic period for the people of this town. And it's not about to get any easier for them," TRT World's Jon Brain reporting from Uvalde said.

"They now face the prospect of 21 funerals, one after the other. It'll be the middle of June before they're all completed."

READ MORE: Biden says Second Amendment 'was never absolute' amid gun control gridlock

Gun control laws

In Washington, Biden –– who visited the small town about an hour's drive from the Mexico border earlier in the weekend –– responded to desperate calls for weapons reform.

"I've been pretty motivated all along" to act on guns, Biden told reporters Monday.

"I'm going to continue to push," he said, adding, "I think things have gotten so bad that everybody is getting more rational about it."

A bipartisan group of US lawmakers worked through the Memorial Day weekend to pursue possible areas of compromise.

They reportedly were focusing on laws to raise the age for gun purchases or to allow police to remove guns from people deemed at risk – but not on an outright ban on high-powered rifles like the weapon used on Tuesday in Uvalde or the one used 10 days earlier in Buffalo, New York.

Uvalde's first funerals are set for Tuesday, with others scheduled through mid-June. The huge number of victims, many with horrific wounds, has left the town's two funeral homes turning to embalmers and morticians from across Texas for help.

One anonymous donor has pledged $175,000 to help cover funeral costs, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said.

READ MORE: US senator begs for gun compromise after Texas school massacre

'Rational action' 

The Uvalde massacre –– the deadliest school attack since 20 children and six staff were killed in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 –– came less than two weeks after 10 people died in the attack at a Buffalo grocery store by a young gunman targeting African Americans.

While mass shootings draw anguished attention and spur momentary demands for change, most US gun violence passes with scant notice.

At least 132 gun deaths and 329 injuries were recorded nationwide from Saturday to Monday evening, according to the Gun Violence Archive website.

Gun-control advocates hoped the shock over the Uvalde tragedy, coming even as people in Buffalo were burying victims of the attack there, might finally prompt politicians to act.

Mourners in Uvalde –– a mostly Latino town of 15,000 –– have echoed calls for change.

"At the end of the day, if this child cannot even sip a glass of wine because he's too young, then guess what? He's too young to purchase a firearm," said Pamela Ellis, who traveled from Houston to pay her respects.

READ MORE: US school massacre leaves students, teacher dead

Source: TRTWorld and agencies