A visibly frustrated President Obama took to a podium at the White House on Thursday evening to assail a political system he said had let yet another massacre with a gun take place earlier in the day in Oregon.
“Somebody somewhere will comment and say, Obama politicized this issue,” the President said. “Well this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic.”
The shooting on Thursday morning at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. left 13 dead and more than 20 injured, according to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum. Authorities described the shooter as a 20-year-old man, who died after exchanging gunfire with police.
“America will wrap everyone who’s grieving with our prayers and our love,” Obama said. “But as I said, just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It’s not enough. It does not capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel. And it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America.”
Obama has had to respond to multiple mass shootings in his tenure. In his speech Thursday, he said that laws have been put in place to prevent other disasters — but not gun violence.
“When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we work to make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them. To reduce auto fatalities, we have seat belt laws because we know it saves lives,” Obama said.
“So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations. Doesn’t make sense.”
Watch Obama’s full remarks from PBS NewsHour:
This post has been updated.