The president embraced the opportunity to politicize the tragedy from the White House. The killings have fueled demands for more gun control in the United States, which has a strong firearms lobby.
Faced with such staunch opposition to his desire for tighter gun laws, President Obama asked the media on Thursday to compare the number of U.S. citizens killed by terrorism to those killed by gun violence. He’s traveled to Aurora, Colorado; Tucson, Arizona; Charleston, South Carolina, and numerous other cities to mourn victims of gun violence. These moments, he’s admitted, have been among the most searing experiences of his presidency. That day! Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it…
And while it is the school shootings and other mass shootings that capture the world’s attention, the vast majority of gun deaths in the USA occur in smaller, often unreported incidents.
In his seventh year as president, Obama has addressed gun violence 15 times after shootings in cinemas, on military bases and even on live television.
The issue of gun control and stiffer regulation always seems to surface following a mass shooting. “It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic”. Gun owners question why they should be subject to background checks in order to sell, buy, lend and swap guns with their close friends.
The 54-year-old President added that other countries, such as Britain and Australia, had been able to craft laws that prevented mass shootings, whereas America is a country, which faces these kinds of mass shootings every few months.
“This is something we should politicize”, he said, calling on Americans of all political stripes to hold their elected leaders accountable for acting on the issue.
“Then we locked the doors, turned off the lights and … we were all pretty much in panic mode and called 911 and our parents and (said) “I love yous” because we didn’t know what would happen, if those were our last words”. “This is not something I can do myself”.
In fact, he admitted there is nothing he can do.
“Each time this happens I’m going to bring this up”, Obama said.
Obama spoke at times with anger in his voice and the muscles in his jaw tensed up as he seemed to struggle to find the right words.
Meanwhile, authorities have identified the gunman who was killed in a firefight with police as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, according to CNN.