President Obama gave impassioned remarks Thursday calling for stricter gun laws following a deadly shooting in Oregon. He spoke for just over 10 minutes, excoriating Congress for refusing to pass gun reform legislation. He also called on state legislatures and governors to act and on regular Americans to "think about how they can get our government to change these laws," which, he said, "will require a change of politics on this issue."
Speaking about mass shootings more generally, he said they are a "political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America." He said the issue is something "we should politicize," because "It is relevant to our common life together."
He said on gun policy:
1. "As I said, just a few months ago, and I said a few months before that, and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers are not enough. It's not enough."
2. "It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun."
3. "How can you, with a straight face, make the argument that more guns will make us safer? We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths."
4. "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 because of our inaction."
5. "When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seat belt laws because we know it saves lives. So the notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom, that our constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under such regulations, doesn't make sense."
6. "So tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren't so fortunate, I'd ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save lives, and to let young people grow up. And that will require a change of politics on this issue."
7. "And each time this happens, I'm going to bring this up. Each time this happens, I'm going to say that we can actually do something about it but we're going to have to change our laws. And this is not something I can do by myself. I've got to have a Congress and I've got to have state legislatures and governors who are willing to work with me on this. I hope and pray that I don't have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as president, I can't guarantee that, and that's terrible to say, and it can change."