On Thursday, an exasperated President Obama addressed the school shooting at at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon that left at least 13 people dead, including the shooter, and another 20 people wounded.
In his speech, Obama declared that “our thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
“It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America,” said the president from the White House briefing room.
“The notion that gun laws don’t work, or just will make it harder for law-abiding citizens, and criminals will still get their guns – it’s not borne out by the evidence,” continued Obama, who referenced Great Britain and Australia, two countries that heavily restricted gun ownership in the wake of mass shootings.
“Somebody somewhere will comment and say, ‘Obama politicized this issue,'” said Obama. “This is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.”
“Each time this happens,” he vowed, “I’m going to bring this up. Each time this happens I’m going to say that we can actually do something about it, but we’re going to have to change our laws. And this is not something I can do by myself. I’ve got to have a Congress, and I’ve got to have state legislators and governors who are willing to work with me on this.”
“I hope and pray I don’t have to come out again,” the president continued but, “based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that, and that’s terrible to say. And it can change.”
Obama lamented the fact that he’s had to address mass shootings at various times throughout his presidency.
“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, we’ve become numb to this,” said the president. “It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.”
Toward the end of the speech, Obama once again renewed the call for tougher federal gun laws.
“This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction,” he said. “Each time this happens I’m going to bring this up. Each time this happens I’m going to say that we can actually do something about it but we’re going to have to change our laws and this is not something I can do by myself.”