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Obama: Failure to pass tougher gun laws is ‘shameful’

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President Obama speaks in the White House during an event on the bloging site Tumblr. At left is Tumblr founder and Chief Executive David Karp. (Mandel Ngan / AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — An exasperated President Barack Obama on Tuesday expressed new surprise and dismay at the lack of congressional action on stemming gun violence, hours after yet another American community was jolted by a deadly school shooting.

He said the failure to expand background checks on firearms sales was his “biggest frustration” as president, and called on concerned citizens to vent their anger loudly.

Obama said it was “stunning” Congress couldn’t pass laws making it harder to obtain firearms in the aftermath of the 2012 elementary school shooting that devastated Newtown, Connecticut, and stunned the nation.

Obama said the violence on that December morning amounted to the “worst day” of his presidency.

“Why aren’t we doing something about this?” he asked during an online question-and-answer session on college costs at the White House.

“I will tell you, I have been in Washington for a while now. Most things don’t surprise me. The fact that 20 six year olds were gunned down in the most violent fashion possible and this town couldn’t do anything about it was stunning to me,” he said.

Obama’s remarks came hours after a student opened fire at a high school near Portland, Oregon, killing a classmate before turning the gun on himself.

The incident joined a list of dozens of shooting incidents at U.S. schools, campuses and public areas that have taken place since the 2012 Newtown massacre. Just Sunday, two police officers in Nevada were shot and killed while eating lunch.

“The country has to do some soul searching about this,” he said. “This is becoming norm.”

Ramping up restrictions on gun sales was a top priority of Obama’s after Newtown.

A bipartisan measure that would have mandated background checks on gun sales failed to pass the Senate the following April, and other proposed measures, like a ban on assault weapons, garnered little support among lawmakers.

The failure of it all was seen as a major defeat for the President, who led the nation in mourning for the students and teachers killed in Connecticut.

Without congressional support, Obama signed dozens of unilateral executive actions meant to quell gun violence. Though broad action, like banning assault weapons or high capacity magazines, still require congressional approval.

On Monday, Obama said the United States was the only developed country on Earth where mass shootings occur with regularity, adding that “if public opinion does not change, we’re not going to change.”

And he shot down arguments that mental health was more to blame for mass killings than access to guns.

“The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It’s not the only country that has psychosis,” he said. “And yet we kill each other in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else. Well, what’s the difference? The difference is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses and that’s sort of par for the course.”

Politicians from both parties are “terrified” of the National Rifle Association, Obama said, saying the gun rights organization was well-funded and able to influence elections to prevent any significant new gun regulations from becoming law.

Late in the day on Capitol Hill, Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer stood before the chamber and could barely get the words out about the violence earlier in the day in his district at Reynolds High School in Troutdale.

“In a scene that is achingly familiar, this morning at Reynolds a shooting occurred, a student killed, the shooter died, a teacher wounded,” he said.

The chamber then observed a moment of silence.

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16 comments

  • S_Hunter

    What I find "shameful" is the fact that our "officials" want to crack down on legal gun owners and not on the violators. BEFORE you "Obamanuts" get started; I'm talking about more gun rights restrictions. We don't need more gun rights restrictions (eventually leading to revocation of civilian ownership of guns), we need EXTREMELY TOUGHER punishment for gun violators. I mean, seriously, people. Would you castrate yourself because your neighbor has too many kids?? (It's called an analogy for those who don't get it) We have an individual that recently shot and killed someone at a University and they want to recommend a "life sentence". YEA! Some deterrent. The rest of your life to get a college degree, cable tv, a weight room, medical care and EVENTUALLY released back into society to do it again???? ALL AT TAX-PAYER EXPENSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Start executing criminals like that one (CAUGHT in the act!!!!), within NO MORE than thirty (30) days and I guarantee those "gun crimes" will drop drastically.

      • Joe Camel

        Ted has a point, it seems like a lot of mental unstable folks are getting access to guns legally via purchase or stealing one bought legally by a relative. We have a constitutional right to bear arms, we have a moral responsibility to ensure they do not fall into the hands of unstable or violent people.

        Mr. Obuma should be more outraged at how we are identifying and caring for those folks who have mental issues, it seems a vast majority of these shootings are people whom someone knows is on the edge but they are not initialized or identified as citizens weapons should not be sold too, even knives IMHO.

        For S_Hunter, we know the libbies will not change the death penalty laws that will provide a deterrent. The only immediate and effective deterrent is one that only an armed society can provide.
        '**** AIM SMALL ***** MISS SMALL!

        • S_Hunter

          I gotta agree with ya there Joe. I'm just frustrated with the "criminals politicians" "misdirecting" the focus. More laws BUT not more severe punishments is not gonna work.

  • Joe

    Wrong thread earlier, one more time.

    Meanwhile, Obama is now breaking immigration laws and encouraging millions of illegals without money, education or anything but stretched out hands and hungry mouths to overload the border so that he can bus them to every street corner in America and dump them off only to become tattoo covered gang members with guns in their hands…

    Feel the chainsaw of this traitorous president, the teeth are now cutting away with all the scandals that are intentional. Now I know what he meant by his domestic army.

  • Terry

    Well for obama to talk about more gun control on one side of his mouth! Then release 5 murderess bastards back into the wild out if the other…

    FOX 13 you are a disappointment to me. We don’t have a gun problem we have a mental health problem. Why don’t you do some investigative reporting and see how many of these kids were seeing some kind of psychologist / counselor maybe that is the link to these kids doing these crazy things.

  • Ted

    It’s time we stop selling guns, at gun shows, without proper I.D. checks. ((( (( ( BOOM ) )) ))) There it is, you’ll catch a bunch of em’…..

    • Joe Camel

      Ted,

      Any when ya all pass that law and the mentally unstable still get access to guns, of which the mast majority of shootings occurred when weapons obtained legally through background checks sold to those short a few bullets of a full clip.

      So until that is resolved….

      ((((((BOOM)))))) YOUR DEAD cause you couldn't identify the problem accurately and wisely enough to arm and protect yourself.

  • Ted

    How about a two pronged attack? Do we really need 30 round clips? Maybe we charge a little more for a licence for this kinda gear, and look a little closer. On the other side, we re-open mental institutions. In the 70’s they started closing them and never looked back. A place to start?

  • D Childs

    One of the more recent shootings the kid bought all of his guns legally, followed all the rules. What came out in the end is that he had mental issues. Why in the hell don't they check the mental background of people? They're looking for criminal background, but it's not "criminals" that are shooting up the schools. If someone has a history of any kind of mental health issue, they should not be allowed to buy a gun. Start by cleaning up those laws first.