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Renewing his call to reduce gun violence, President Barack Obama characterized easy access to weapons as ‘unconscionable’ Saturday, less than a week after the worst mass shooting in US history.
The President has resurrected his plan to ban so-called assault weapons, in the aftermath of the Florida nightclub shooting.
‘Even after we see parents grieve for their children, the fact that we as a country do nothing to prevent the next heartbreak makes no sense,’ Obama said in his weekly radio address, which fell one day ahead of Father’s Day.
Forty-nine people were killed and 53 were injured when a gunman opened fire early Sunday at Orlando, Florida’s Pulse nightclub, armed with a legally bought assault rifle.
The gunman, 29-year-old Omar Mateen — a Muslim American of Afghan descent — ran amok in the packed gay club, pledging allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group before being killed in a police raid.
‘Being tough on terrorism, particularly the sorts of homegrown terrorism that we’ve seen now in Orlando and San Bernardino, means making it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on assault weapons that are capable of killing dozens of innocents as quickly as possible,’ Obama said.
The Orlando gunman, Omar Mateen, a self-radicalized Muslim who pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State terror group, used a handgun and a Sig Sauer MCX assault rifle in the massacre.
Congress in 1994 passed a ban on semi-automatic weapons like the one Mateen used inside Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. However, the ban expired in 2004.
In a similar incident, a man and wife opened fire in San Bernardino, California, on a Christmas party in December, killing 14 people in a separate mass shooting.
‘Like all dads, I worry about my girls’ safety all the time. Especially when we see preventable violence in places our sons and daughters go every day — their schools and houses of worship, movie theaters, nightclubs, as they get older.’
‘It’s unconscionable that we allow easy access to weapons of war in these places,’ Obama said.
An effort in Congress led by Senate Democrats and pushed by Obama after the 2012 mass shooting inside a Newtown, Conn., elementary school to reinstate the ban ended in bitter defeat.
‘Every time I think about those kids, it gets me mad,’ Obama said earlier this year when announcing his own efforts, through executive action, to tighten gun control.