After Oregon Shooting, Obama Warns Mass Shootings Are "Becoming The Norm"
In a chat with Tumblr on Tuesday, President Obama said mass shootings are "becoming the norm. And we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me." When Obama said "the norm," he may have been referring to the Aurora gunman, who left 12 dead in a shooting two years ago. Perhaps he meant the Sandy Hook massacre that left 26 dead at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut that same year. Or he could've been talking about the UC-Santa Barbara victims, or the student who died at the hands of a gunman at Seattle Pacific University, or the high schooler killed on Tuesday in Oregon. Hard to tell, since all are shootings that have occurred in America in the last month alone.
In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook, Obama led a push to ensure everybody who gets a gun in America has to undergo a background check. Seems like a pretty basic level of protection, no? Well, it didn't pass, despite a crazy-high proportion of Americans, some 90 percent, who supported it.
On Tuesday, Obama didn't mince words about the lax state of gun control in the United States.
We should be ashamed.
Here's part of what Obama said in the question-and-answer session:
We're the only developed country in the world where this happens. And it happens every week. There's no place else like this.
Obama has attempted on several occasions to make changes on guns. Clearly, it's not been enough. Congress has not acted to change gun laws in the wake of frequent mass shootings. In the Tumblr interview, the president suggested that's thanks to cowardice in Congress and the lobbying might of the National Rifle Association, which has vociferously opposed any changes to gun laws.
If public opinion does not demand change in Congress, it will not change. ...Most members of Congress are terrified of the NRA.
Nor did Obama blame mental health for the problem, suggesting that while mental health problems occur everywhere in the world, acts of premeditated mass gun violence seem to occur with frightening regularity in the United States alone.
The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people.
In an earlier statement, new White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama hasn't given up on better gun control, and suggested Obama may still use executive power to try and move the issue forward.
He does have a commitment to trying to make progress on this issue, that there are some commonsense things that can be done that would make our communities safer and not infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans. The president is going to continue to look for opportunities to act administratively, unilaterally, using his executive authority, to try to make our communities safer. We're always looking for those kinds of opportunities.