Justice

Pres. Obama's Reaction to the Oregon Shooting Is Worth Your Praise

A shooter opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Thursday, reportedly killing at least 10 people and wounding 20, law enforcement officials said. In response to the tragedy, President Obama addressed the nation calling for tougher gun control laws.

"[A]s I said just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these shootings: our thoughts are prayers are not enough. It's not enough," Obama said. "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 somewhere else in America."

"Somebody, somewhere will comment and say Obama politicized this issue," Obama added. "This is something we should politicize."

Earlier on Thursday, as news of the shooting came in, White House press secretary Josh Earnest spoke at a press conference, telling reporters that the president was still committed to reforming gun control laws in the U.S., but that he was not necessarily confident about his ability to pass legislation through Congress.

"The president has been quite candid about why this is and has been a source of frustration for him," Earnest said. "It has not at all been lowered on the priority scale. But at the same time, the president is quite realistic that we'll need to see a fundamental change in the way American people communicate this priority to Congress before we'll see a different outcome in the legislative process."

The president reiterated this point in his evening remarks. "The United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we don't have sufficient gun safety laws even in the face of repeated mass shootings," Obama stated. 

"When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives. So the notion that gun violence is somehow different? That our freedom and our constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon?"

The shooting at Umpqua Community College is the 45th to occur this year in the U.S. It is the 142nd since a gunman fatally shot 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, according to Everytown.

Earlier today, the White House reiterated the importance of passing legislation to help prevent gun violence in the wake of the shooting at the Oregon community college.

BREAKING: Shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon

One student reportedly tweeted live on campus about the school shooting at Umpqua Community College.

Posted by ATTN: on Thursday, October 1, 2015

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White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday that the "issue of sensible steps that can be taken to protect our communities from gun violence continues to be a top priority of this administration," noting that the "vast majority of Americans" support stricter gun laws, too, reports The Hill.

Gun violence has become a regular occurrence in recent years, but the prospects of passing substantial gun control and reform legislation remains slim in Congress, a fact that President Barack Obama has publicly grappled with in the wake of various mass shootings.

"The president has been quite candid about how this is and has been a source of frustration for him," Earnest said. He said that steps to address gun violence would include ending the ability of private parties to sell guns if the buyer was not given a background check, notes the New York Times.

"It has [not] been lowered at all on the priority scale, but at the same time the president is realistic that we'll need to see a fundamental change" in the public's call for action, Earnest added.

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As noted above, President Obama has repeatedly dealt with frustration over the roadblocks to enforcing tougher gun regulation, perhaps most notably in a speech following the June shooting a Charleston, South Carolina church. The president's remarks focused on the racist motivations of 21-year-old shooter Dylann Roof and also addressed broad trends of gun violence.

"I've had to make statements like this too many times," Obama said. "[W]e do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. ...Let's be clear: At some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency," he said.

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