Obama expresses anger, sadness over Oregon shooting

  • 02/10/2015
Obama expresses anger, sadness over Oregon shooting

US President Barack Obama has voiced his anger and sadness after the country's latest deadly shooting, this time at an Oregon community college.

Obama made another impassioned plea for gun control legislation.

"There has been another mass shooting in America," a stony-faced Obama said in reaction to the shooting by a male gunman at Umpqua Community College in rural Roseburg that left 10 people dead.

"Somehow this has become routine," said the president. "We become numb to this."

"The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine," said the president, making his 15th statement on a mass shooting since taking office in 2009.

"And what's become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common sense gun legislation."

Obama reiterated his frustration at the failure of the Republican-controlled Congress to back new gun control measures, and threw down the gauntlet to members.

"Prayers are not enough," he said. "We can actually do something about it, but we're going to have to change our laws."

"This is a political choice we make," Obama said. "This is not something I can do myself. I have to have a congress and state legislatures and governors who are willing to work with me on this."

"It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun."

School shootings have become a disturbing reality of American life and many facilities have reinforced security in recent years, especially after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.

When 26 people - among them 20 young children - were killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in one of the worst-ever school massacres, many thought it would mark a turning point in the US debate on gun control.

As America reeled in shock, Obama charged Vice President Joe Biden to push for movement on the issue in Congress.

But within just four months, hopes for a meaningful reform were dashed, after senators rejected a law that would have made criminal and mental health background checks compulsory for gun purchases online and at gun fairs - a major political setback for the president.

A furious Obama called it a "shameful day for Washington," placing the blame squarely on the powerful US gun lobby.

Obama also called the US media to account, asking them to set the human cost of gun violence side by side with the - far lower - number of people killed in terrorist attacks.

The United States has the highest number of firearms per capita of the developed world, with close to 89 guns in circulation per 100 people - without counting police and military weaponry.

AFP

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