As President Barack Obama consoled the families of the victims of the Washington Navy Yard shooting on Sunday, he gave an impassioned defense of tougher gun laws and said the fight to prevent tragedies like the Navy Yard shooting “ought to obsess us.”
Speaking at a memorial for Navy Yard victims at the Marine Barracks in Washington, DC, Obama ticked off mass shootings that have taken place over the course of his presidency — including Fort Hood, Texas, Tucson, Ariz., Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn. — to illustrate the “epidemic” of gun violence he said the nation faces. Those tragedies, he said, should shock the nation into doing something “transformative” to stop the cycle of gun violence.
“Alongside the anguish of these American families, alongside the accumulated outrage so many of us feel, 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,” Obama said. “We can’t accept this.”
The president pointed out that no other advanced countries experience the level of gun violence the U.S. has witnessed, because he said no other country makes it so easy for “dangerous people” to get their hands on a gun.
“I do not accept that we cannot find a common-sense way to preserve our traditions, including our basic Second Amendment freedoms and the rights of law-abiding gun owners, while at the same time reducing the gun violence that unleashes so much mayhem on a regular basis,” he said.
Correction: A previous version of this post incorrectly referred to a mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. Sandy Hook was the name of the elementary school where the shooting took place.