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Obama Calls For 'Common-Sense Gun Safety Laws' - Opposing Views

Obama Calls For 'Common-Sense Gun Safety Laws'

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Former President Barack Obama called for "common-sense gun safety laws" in light of the Parkland, Florida Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that claimed 17 lives on Feb. 14.

"We are grieving with Parkland," Obama began. "'But we are not powerless. Caring for our kids is our first job. And until we can honestly say that we're doing enough to keep them safe from harm, including long overdue, common-sense gun safety laws that most Americans want, then we have to change."

It's just one of many times Obama has publicly spoken out in support of stricter gun laws. He calls the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, in which 20 first-graders and six school staffers were shot to death in December 2012, the worst day of his presidency.

Former White House photographer Pete Souza remembers the moment Obama first learned about the Sandy Hook shooting, saying he saw "the energy just zap out of the president".

"I think he was thinking of this not only as a president but imagining what it must be like as a parent," Souza said, reports Business Insider.

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"The horror of sending your six-year-old kid off to school, you put [them] on the school bus, and you never see them again because some crazy guy shot them to death, point-blank, at their school," he added.

The shooting continued to leave an impact almost half a decade later. In January 2016, Obama famously wiped away tears while talking about the shooting.

"Every time I think of those kids, it gets me mad," Obama said then, reports the Daily Mail.

The former president's response to the latest shooting contrasts the current commander in chief's.

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President Donald Trump did not mention guns, but rather called the attack an example of  "terrible violence, hatred and evil" and called for a change in the "culture."

"We must also work together to create a culture in our country that embraces the dignity of life, that creates deep and meaningful human connections, and that turns classmates and colleagues into friends and neighbors," President Trump said in an official White House statement, later tweeting that the shooter was "mentally disturbed".

Other leading Republicans also refused to blame gun laws.

"There's more questions than answers at this stage," Republican House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said, Reuters reports. "I don't think that means you then roll that conversation into taking away citizens' rights -- taking away a law-abiding citizen's rights. Obviously this conversation typically goes there. Right now, I think we need to take a breath and collect the facts."

Sources: Barack Obama/Twitter, Donald J. Trump/Twitter, White HouseBusiness Insider, Reuters, Daily Mail / Featured Image: Johan Viirok/Flickr / Embedded Images: Formulanone/Wikimedia Commons, White House/Flickr

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