President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he has already taken all the steps within his authority to advance gun control, and it is now up to Congress to act on gun legislation.
Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart asked Obama if in the wake of mass shootings like the one that took place Monday at the Washington, DC Navy Yard and last December in Newtown, Conn., Americans were condemned to live in a country where such shootings are “part and parcel” of daily life.
“Well, we don’t have to be,” Obama responded, according to a transcript provided by Telemundo. “And the overwhelming majority of the American people understand that there’s some commonsense gun safety laws that we can put in place that could prevent some of this tragedy from happening.”
The president noted that news reports indicated the man identified as the shooter in the Washington Navy Yard shooting, Aaron Alexis, had a history of mental health issues.
“The fact that we do not have a firm enough background-check system is something that makes us more vulnerable to these kinds of mass shootings,” he said.
Obama left further action on gun control in the hands of Congress, however, arguing that he has already enacted a slew of executive actions to address the issue.
“I have now in the wake of Newtown initiated a whole range of executive actions,” he continued. “We’ve put in place every executive action that I proposed right after Newtown happened. So I’ve taken steps that are within my control. The next phase now is for Congress to go ahead and move.”
This post has been updated.