President Barack Obama has offered his condolences to the victims and families affected by Thursday’s mass shooting in Oregon, while calling once again on voters and politicians to reform America’s gun laws. “Our thoughts and prayers are not enough,” Mr Obama said during a press conference at the White House. “It does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America, next week or a couple of months from now.”
In his 15th statement on a mass shooting during his time in office, Mr Obama lamented that the US was “the only advanced country on earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months,” saying that the public was now “numb” to mass shootings and their media coverage. “It cannot be this easy for someone who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun,” he said.
In July, Mr Obama told the BBC that his failure to pass “common sense gun safety laws” had been the greatest frustration of his presidency. Anticipating the accusation from gun rights activists that he was “politicising” the tragedy in Oregon, the President said: “This is something we should politicise.” Alluding to the intransigence of Congress on introducing new gun legislation, he added: “This is a political choice that we make to let this happen every few months in America.”
Citing statistics that show states with stricter gun laws tend to have fewer gun deaths, Mr Obama also pointed to the UK and Australia as countries that introduced sweeping gun control following mass shootings, and all but eliminated gun violence. Those who oppose such legislation would argue that Americans need more guns and fewer gun safety laws, Mr Obama predicted. “Does anybody really believe that?” he said. “How can you with a straight face make the argument that more guns will make us safer?”
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