Obama stresses importance of gun laws, safety, in response to Oregon shooting
WASHINGTON-- President Barack Obama addressed the nation on Thursday afternoon in a speech that repeatedly stressed the importance of gun laws.
This is Obama’s 8th address to the nation concerning school shootings, and his speech on Thursday reflected his frustration with what he sees as Congress’s reluctance to pass “common-sense gun legislation.”
"As I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough," Obama said.
Obama invoked a few of the many school shootings that have happened in the United States in the recent past.
“We talked about this after Columbine and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston. It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.”
Obama also compared the United States to other countries, such as Great Britain and Australia, who he says have almost eliminated mass shootings. He called on news organizations to tally up the number of Americans who have been killed in terrorist attacks over the last decade and those who have been killed by gun violence, and publish them side by side.
“We spend over a trillion dollars, and pass countless laws, and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil, and rightfully so. And yet, we have a Congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?”
“We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction,” Obama said.
Obama urged Americans to think about how they can get their government to change the current gun laws, and asked gun owners to consider whether their views were being properly represented by certain organizations.
Everytown for Gun Safety, a group dedicated to reducing gun violence through stricter gun laws, tracks mass shootings using FBI data. The FBI considers an attack to be a ‘mass shooting’ if at least 4 people are killed, according to Newsweek.
Using the FBI’s definition of a mass shooting, Everytown reports that this is the 45th mass shooting in the United States in 2015.
Obama ended his speech by offering his condolences to those affected by the shooting, and asked Congress and state governments to work with him on changing current gun legislation. However, his view of the future is grim.
“I hope and pray that I don't have to come out again during my tenure as President to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as President, I can't guarantee that.”