Gun deaths prompt angry reaction from Obama

WASHINGTON • President Barack Obama responded angrily to the mass shooting that took three lives, including that of a police officer, at a family planning facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado, over the Thanksgiving holiday.
 

"We can't let it become normal," Mr Obama said in a statement.

"If we truly care about this - if we're going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience - then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough."

The tragedy quickly found its way into the presidential race, with the Democratic candidates offering statements of solidarity with Planned Parenthood, which has faced intense conservative criticism this year, and the Republican hopefuls largely avoiding mention of the latest outbreak of concentrated gun violence.

Mr Obama, who has voiced rising dismay as he has been forced to repeatedly respond to mass shootings during his presidency, sounded notes of deep exasperation about yet another moment of fear and loss taking place at a time devoted to thanks and family.

STOP THE SHOOTINGS

We can't let it become normal. If we truly care about this - if we're going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience - then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, on the recurring cases of gun violence

Without calling explicitly for new laws, he invoked the name of the slain police officer, from the University of Colorado's Colorado Springs campus, to plead with leaders to show the will to address such shootings.

"May God bless Officer Garrett Swasey and the Americans he tried to save - and may He grant the rest of us the courage to do the same thing," the President said.

Previous large-scale shootings have not, however, reshaped the country's polarised debate over gun control, and there was little reason to believe that the Republican-controlled Congress would take up new measures to restrict access to firearms.

The Colorado shooting did insert two highly contentious issues, gun control and abortion, into a presidential campaign that has been dominated by a debate over national security and Middle Eastern refugees since the terrorist attacks on Paris this month.

By late Saturday morning, though, the response to the violence was notably one-sided.

Democratic presidential candidates all issued statements no-ting that they stood with Planned Parenthood.

Few of the Republican candidates, on the other hand, offered any response.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2015, with the headline 'Gun deaths prompt angry reaction from Obama'. Print Edition | Subscribe