Speaking from the White House the evening of Oct. 1, President Obama gave an impassioned speech about mass shootings in the wake of the latest that took place Oct. 1 at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon (video below).
"Somehow this has become routine," Obama said, according to CNN. "The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it ... We have become numb to this."
Obama’s address was the 15th he has given following a mass shooting in the U.S.
The Umpqua shooting left 10 people dead and 20 wounded. The shooter was killed during gunfire with police, Opposing Views reported.
According to student Kortney Moore, who spoke with The News-Review, the gunman made her and other students get on the floor of a classroom, stand up and state their religion, and then opened fire. An unidentified woman who claims her grandmother was in the classroom with the shooter posted to Twitter that anyone who said they were Christian were shot in the head. If they said they were not Christian, or did not answer, they were allegedly shot in the legs.
In his statement, Obama pleads with the American people to force their government to change gun laws to protect each other because he cannot do anything to prevent these tragedies by himself.
“So tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren’t so fortunate,” Obama said, according to The New York Times. “I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save these lives and let these people grow up.”
The President addressed gun owners specifically, and hinted at the need for them to decide if the National Rifle Association is properly representing them.
“And I would particularly ask America’s gun owners who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt for sport, for protecting their families, to think about whether your views are being properly represented by the organization that suggests it is speaking for you,” Obama said.
The National Rifle Association refused to comment on Obama’s remarks, The New York Times reports.
“And what’s become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation,” Obama said. “Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out. ‘We need more guns,’ they’ll argue. ‘Fewer gun-safety laws.’
“Does anybody really believe that?”
Obama added that the U.S. is the only country on Earth that has mass shootings every few months, even though other countries have people with mental illnesses or who want to harm others.
"This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America,” Obama said. “We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones."
With sadness and resignation, Obama ended his 12-minute statement: “May God bless the memories of those who were killed today … May He give us the strength to come together and find the courage to change.”