President Obama spoke regarding gun control at a memorial Sunday for the 12 individuals who were killed in the Navy Yard shooting. At the service, the president called out the names and hobbies of those slain by Aaron Alexis at the Washington Naval complex, and had strong words regarding gun violence – a paramount issue facing and defining Obama’s administration, reports the Washington Post on Sept. 22.
“Our tears are not enough,” Obama said at the Marine Barracks Washington, only a few blocks from the site of the shootings. Over 5,000 were on hand to hear the president’s speech.
“Our words and our prayers are not enough. If we really want to honor these 12 men and women, if we really want to be a country where we can go to work, and go to school, and walk our streets free from senseless violence, without so many lives being stolen by a bullet from a gun, then we're going to have to change. We're going to have to change,” the president said with conviction.
Thus far during Obama’s time in office, he has dealt with four mass shootings: the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas that left 13 dead, the 2011 shooting at a constituent meeting held in a supermarket parking lot near Tuscon, Ariz. that left six dead, the 2012 Aurora, Co. theater shooting that left 12 dead, and the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in late 2012 that left 26 dead, including 20 children.
The navy yard shooting on September 16 brings the mass shootings count to five, and the death toll to 69.
Obama said the U.S. must overcome its “frozen” politics that are impinging on his ability to roll out effective gun control laws. Speaking of the opposition he has received from the NRA and from advocates to gun rights, Obama said there has to be a “common-sense” solution.
“I do not accept that we cannot find a common-sense way to preserve our traditions, including our basic 2nd Amendment freedoms and the rights of law-abiding gun owners, while at the same time reducing the gun violence that unleashes so much mayhem on a regular basis,” Obama said.
"No other advanced nation endures this kind of violence. None." --President Obama at the Navy Yard memorial service
Murder rates in the U.S. are three times what the rates are in other developed nations; factoring in gun violence as the cause of those murders makes the statistics soar. The murder rate by guns are ten times the rate of other developed nations, Obama pointed out.
“These are not statistics,” Obama said. “They are the lives that have been taken from us.”
Obama said America does not “do enough” when responding to such tragedies, again calling for a “common-sense” approach. “We don't take the basic common-sense actions to take guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people,” Obama said.
“By now, though, it should be clear that the change we need will not come from Washington, even when tragedy strikes Washington,” Obama lamented.
“I've said before, we cannot stop every act of senseless violence. We cannot know every evil that lurks in troubled minds, but if we can prevent even one tragedy like this, save even one life, spare other families what these families are going through, surely we've got an obligation to try,” the president concluded.