Ahead of a meeting with the families of the Navy Yard shooting victims Sunday, President Obama has urged his supporters to crack down on gun legislation, saying it's time "to get back up and go back at it."
At an awards dinner late on Saturday, Obama took the opportunity to make his first public comments on this last week's shootings, pressing a renewed focus on gun laws, and calling on voters to help push forward the stalled legislation.
"We fought a good fight earlier this year, but we came up short, and that means we've got to get back up and go back at it," the President said.
"As long as there are those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun, then we've got to work as hard as possible for the sake of our children. We've got to be ones who are willing to do more work to make it harder," he added.
Although Obama had made stricter gun laws a priority following the shooting in Sandy Hook last December, the legislation — which called for expanded background checks — failed to clear the Senate earlier this year.
"We can't rest until all of our children can go to school or walk down
the street free from the fear that they will be struck down by a stray
bullet," the President said.
The push comes following a week of bloody gun violence. On Monday, 12 people were killed when a government contractor opened fire at the Washington Navy Yard, and on Thursday, alleged gang members began shooting at people in a park in Chicago, injuring 18.
But the National Rifle Association is putting the blame on the Navy Yard's poor security facility, rejecting the President's push for new gun laws and instead calling for (surprise, surprise) more guns.
According to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, the Navy Yard military facility was "completely unprotected," and policy-makers "need to look at letting the men and women who know firearms and are trained in them do what they do best, which is protect and survive."
Echoing comments he'd made last December following the Newtown shootings, LaPierre also criticized the country's mental health system, saying it is "completely broken down," also calling the check system "a complete joke."
When asked whether people such as the Navy Yard shooter — who show warning signs of mental health issues but are just under the radar — ought to be allowed to purchase guns, LaPierre said: "They need to be committed, is what that need to be."
The President is scheduled to speak at a memorial service for the victims of Monday's Navy Yard attack later on Sunday — and it's not the first time he's had to do it. Since Obama became President, there have been five other mass shootings, two in 2009, one in 2011, one in 2012, and, most recently, the rampage in Newtown, Connecticut last December, which left 20 children and six adults dead.