Following the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Thursday, October 2, 2015, President Barack Obama shared his frustration during press conferences in which he called for stricter gun control laws nationwide.
The Umpqua gunman, 26 year old Chris Harper Mercer who was himself a student at the college, killed nine people and injured at least nine more, before police were able to shoot and kill him. Mercer had five pistols and one rifle in his possession at the the college and an additional seven weapons were recovered from his home after the shootings. Investigators also found a bulletproof jacket and five extra magazines at the scene. All 13 weapons had been purchased legally by either the shooter or a member of his family during the past three years.
In his press conferences today and yesterday, President Obama has been visibly upset. According to The Washington Post, during Obama’s second term in office there has not been one full calendar week that has passed without a mass-shooting incident. The group Everytown for Gun Safety released figures showing that this was the 142nd school shooting incident in just the three years since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
President Obama emphatically declared that American citizens have grown “numb” and these deaths are beginning to be accepted as “routine.” Obama said, “Our thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
He stated, “It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.”
President Obama went on to say, “We are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illness or want to do harm to other people. We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.”
“We are going to have to change our laws, and this is not something I can do by myself. I’ve got to have a Congress, and I’ve got to have state legislatures and governors who are willing to work with me on this.”
“This is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together. This is a political choice we make.”
The president vowed today to keep pressure on Congress to pass common-sense gun control laws. However, most observers believe that new laws are unlikely to succeed in Congress, despite the latest shootings. Congress appears unwilling to take even the modest action of expanding federal background checks to include weapons that are sold at gun shows and on the Internet, and other firearms restrictions have far less chance of passing.
The National Rifle Association strongly opposes any new laws affecting gun ownership. The NRA is also opposed to the expansion of background checks. A conservative Republican bloc of 200 members in the House of Representatives vehemently refuses to support any gun control legislation, a situation that frustrates President Obama and other gun control advocates.
Consequently, conservatives have taken no action to renew the ban on assault weapons and they have simultaneously managed to expand the rights of gun owners by passing rules that allow them to bring guns onto Amtrak trains and into national parks.
One piece of legislation, proposed by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), has some chance of being brought to the floor of the Senate for consideration. His bill would make it harder for people who are mentally ill to buy firearms by improving mental-health treatment programs and expanding the records that are sent to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
Today, after the shootings at Umpqua Community College, the majority of Republican lawmakers and gun rights organizations either extended their condolences to the victims’ families or released no public statements regarding the incident.
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush faced backlash today after he said, “Look, stuff happens,” in response to being asked whether or not he supported the passage of new gun laws after the Oregon mass shooting.
See more of President Obama’s comments in this YouTube video:
Deborah Dian is the Stock Market and California correspondent for The Daily Voice News, as well as following some entertainment news. She lives in Southern California where she is president of an investment club and an avid follower of the stock market. She is also the author of a retirement planning blog, Baby-Boomer-Retirement.com. She has a B.S. degree in Human Environmental Design from the University of Missouri, and enjoys travel, horseback riding, and the Southern California lifestyle. Contact her at [email protected]