In his seventh statement on a mass shooting in the last five months, President Barack Obama told CBS News Wednesday afternoon that while the details of a gunmen attack in San Bernardino, California, were still unclear, it was obvious that there was a problem with gun violence in the United States. He called for changes to gun safety laws and enforcement of stronger background checks.
The shooting in San Bernardino, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles, left at least 14 people dead and wounded at least 14 others. Even as Obama spoke, several schools, buildings and businesses in the area were on lockdown and the suspects were still at large Wednesday afternoon.
"There are steps we can take to make Americans safer, and we should come together on a bipartisan level to make these rare as opposed to normal," he said. "We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world."
— Shanica Johnson (@ShanicaJohnson) December 2, 2015
Dozens of mass shooting incidents have occurred in the country since Obama took office, prompting him to make statements that increasingly take a tougher stance advocating for tighter gun control laws. On Wednesday, he pointed out that there is a no-fly list for those suspected of involvement in terrorist activities, yet those people are still legally allowed to purchase firearms.
After a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Oct. 1, Obama lambasted those critical of heightened gun safety laws as “opposing common-sense gun legislation.”
“We talked about this after Columbine and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston,” he said. “Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out: ‘We need more guns,’ they’ll argue, ‘Fewer gun safety laws.’ Does anybody really believe that?”
Obama had been referring to a 1999 massacre that killed 13 at a high school in Columbine, Colorado; a shooting that left 32 dead at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007; a 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona that killed six people and severely injured former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords; the fatal shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012; the killing of 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 and the shooting deaths of nine people at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina in June, 2015.
After the shooting deaths of nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina, church in June, the president lamented the number of times he had made similar statements. “We don’t have all the facts, but we 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,” he said.
— Ramy Zabarah (@ramyzab) December 2, 2015
At a memorial service less than a week after 12 people were killed inside the Washington Navy Yard in September 2013, Obama warned against Americans’ apathy and desensitization toward the increasingly common mass shooting incidents.
“Sometimes I fear there’s a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is, that this is somehow the new normal. We can’t accept this,” he said.