President Obama on gun laws: ‘I’m going to talk about this on a regular basis’
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Friday reiterated his calls for more gun laws, pledging to keep pushing the issue and saying his administration would look into ways it can better enforce existing regulations in the wake of Thursday’s massacre at an Oregon college campus.
“I’m going to talk about this on a regular basis. And I will politicize this. Because our inaction is a political decision that we’re making,” Obama said during a White House press conference. “Unless we change that political dynamic, we’re not going to be able to make a big dent in this problem.”
Obama called on gun-control advocates to act as “single-issue voters,” punishing and rewarding politicians at the polls on the topic.
“The people who are troubled by this have to be as intense and organized and adamant about this issue as folks on the other side who are absolutists, who think that any gun safety measures are an assault on freedom, or communistic, or a plot by me to take over and stay in power forever, or something,” he said.
The President also said he has asked his administration to look into “what kinds of authorities do we have to enforce the laws that we have in place more effectively to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”
Obama’s remarks Friday come one day after he bemoaned another community traumatized by a mass killing.
“Somehow this has become routine. 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,” he complained on Thursday.
Nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College. Seven other people were injured, and the shooter was killed after exchanging gunfire with authorities.
Also at Friday’s press conference, Obama discussed ongoing budget negotiations on Capitol Hill, saying he believes there’s an opportunity to arrive at a “reasonable agreement.”
“Yes, Speaker (John) Boehner’s decision to step down complicates it, but I do think there’s a path for us to come up with a reasonable agreement for us to raise the spending caps above sequester and properly finance both our defense and non-defense needs, that maintains a prudent control of our deficits, and we can do that in short order. It’s not that complicated,” Obama said.
Obama also said he hoped “extraneous issues” — a reference to conservative calls to shut down the federal government over its continued funding of Planned Parenthood — wouldn’t interfere.
“The math is the math,” Obama said. “What I’ve encouraged is we get started on that work immediately and we push through over the next several weeks and try to leave out extraneous issues that may prevent us from getting a budget agreement.”