Washington: As yet another mass shooting left 10 persons dead and 7 others injured in the United States, a sad and angry President Barack Obama blasted lawmakers for failing to pass tougher gun laws in the face of a powerful gun lobby.
President Barack Obama speaks at a press conference on October 1, 2015 in Washington, DC. Pic/AFP
Lamenting that mass killings have become 'routine' in the US, a grim Obama said Thursday "I hope and pray that I don't have to come out again in my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families under these circumstances." But based on my experience as president, I can't guarantee that," Obama said from White House briefing room hours after Thursday's massacre at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.
Just as his remarks on shootings have become routine, so too have the reactions from politicians and opponents of stricter gun regulations, said Obama, who according to a CBS count was making his 15th address after a mass shooting.
"Someone will comment and say, 'Obama politicized this issue.' Well, this is something we should politicize," he said. "It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic."
Obama who looks at the failure to pass more stringent gun safety laws is one of the greatest frustrations of his presidency thus far noted many countries had passed gun control laws to prevent new massacres.
"We are not the only country on Earth that has people with mental illnesses or want to do harm to other people," Obama said.
"We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months," Obama said, and hammered Congress for even blocking the collection of data on shooting incidents.
"This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones."
And predicting that it would not be the last time in his presidency that he would have to give such a painful speech, Obama vowed: "Each time this happens, I am going to say we are going to have to do something about it. And we are going to have to change our laws."
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun-control group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 88 people are killed by gun violence in America each day.
Since the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, there have been at least 142 school shootings in America-an average of nearly one a week, the organization says.
Meanwhile, authorities have identified the gunman who was killed in a firefight with police as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, according to CNN.
A parent of a student who was in the classroom where the shootings occurred told NBC News that the gunman asked at least 'a few' people what religion they were.