President Obama addressed the fatal mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, in a statement delivered in the White House briefing room Thursday. Obama, with a visibly clenched jaw, delivered exasperated, smoldering remarks about the state of gun violence in the United States and the lack of political will to make even the most minute changes to American gun laws to try to prevent future shootings.
Here are the notable moments from Obama’s remarks (Note: This is an automated transcript so there may be a grammatical error or two):
“Our thoughts and prayers are not enough”:
[A]s 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 inflicted someplace else in America. Next week or a couple months from now.
Only advanced country with shootings like this:
We don’t yet know why this individual did what he did. And it’s fair to say that anybody who does this has a sickness in their minds. Regardless of what they think their motivations may be. But we are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses who 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. Earlier this year, I answered a question in an interview by saying the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense gun safety laws, even in the face of repeated mass killings. And later that day there was a mass shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. That day. Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become numb to this.
How can you argue more guns keeps us safer?:
Right now I can imagine the press release is being cranked out. We need more guns, they’ll argue. Fewer gun safety laws. Does anybody really believe that? There are scores of responsible gun owners in this country, they know that’s not true. We know because of the polling that says that the majority of Americans understand we should be changing these laws. Including the majority of responsible law-abiding gun owners. There’s a gun for roughly every man, woman and child in America. So how can you with a straight face make the argument that more guns will make us safer? We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths.
Politicizing the issue:
And of course, what’s also routine is that somebody, somewhere, will comment and say—Obama politicized this issue. Well, this is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together. To the body politic. I would ask news organizations, because I won’t put these facts forward. Have news organizations tally up the number of Americans who been killed through terrorist attacks in the last decade and the number of American who is have been killed by gun violence. And post those side by side on your news reports. This won’t be information coming from me, it will be coming from you. We spend over $1 trillion and pass countless laws and devote entire agencies to preventing terrorist attacks on our soil and rightfully so. And yet we have a congress that explicitly blocks us from even collecting data on how we could potentially reduce gun deaths. How can that be?
“When roads are unsafe, we fix them”:
We collectively are answerable to those family who is lose their loved ones. Because of our inaction. When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we 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. 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 all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations? It doesn’t make sense.
*This post has been updated with new information.