President Obama lamented the fact that he was making comments about yet another shooting – this time at a community college in Oregon – saying the process has become “routine” for him and new families who mourn the loss of loved ones.
“I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again in my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families under these circumstances. But based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that,” the president said in the White House briefing room.
The shooting, which left at least 20 people dead and injured, according to the governor’s office, took place Thursday morning at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
The identity of the 20-year-old shooter has not been released.
The president said that just as his remarks on shootings have become routine, so too have the reactions from politicians and opponents of stricter gun regulations.
“Somewhere will comment and say, ‘Obama politicized this issue.’ Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic,” he said.
Rather than shying away from the political dimension to mass shootings, the president leaned in to it, saying that Thursday’s events were direct products of political decisions – those made by lawmakers and by those who elect them.
“We collectively are answerable to those families, who lose their loved ones because of our inaction,” he said.
In a veiled reference to groups like the National Rifle Association which has opposed most of the president’s efforts to tighten gun purchasing laws, he urged firearms owners to reconsider their affiliation with the group.
“I would particularly ask America’s gun owners, who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt, for sport, or protecting their families, to think about whether your views are properly being represented by the organization that suggests it’s speaking for you,” he said.
The president has said the failure to pass more stringent gun safety laws is one of the greatest frustrations of his presidency thus far.
“If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which, we do not have sufficient common-sense gun safety laws, even in the face of repeated mass killings,” he told the BBC in July.
SOURCE: ALI WEINBERG