President Obama responded to Tuesday’s school shooting in Oregon by lamenting the lack of sensible gun safety laws and calling on Congress to pass background checks for all gun purchases.
“We’re the only developed country on Earth where this happens,” Obama said during a question-and-answer session on Tumblr. “And it happens now once a week. And it’s a one-day story. There’s no place else like this.” Obama described Congress’ failure to enact gun regulations in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary as “my biggest frustration so far,” noting that gun violence in America is “off the charts.”
Indeed, the United States is the most violent of all the developed nations, experiencing 74 school shootings in the 18 months since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in December of 2012 — an average of almost one school shooting a week. According to data compiled by USA Today, a mass shooting in which 4 or more people are injured or die occurs every two weeks, with most of the violence going unreported in the press.
Almost 65 percent of the killers are white and most use guns purchased legally. Three-fourths of weapons used in mass shootings were legally purchased and between 1982 and 2012, “more than half of all mass shooters possessed high capacity magazines, assault weapons, or both.”
On Tuesday, a student opened fire at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon, killing one student before ultimately taking his own life. The incident comes just days after a married couple in Las Vegas, Nevada killed three people and a young gunman murdered six in a California college town.
“This is becoming the norm,” Obama said, in ways that, “as a parent, are terrifying to me.” “We should be ashamed.” Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have hinted that the Senate will hold another vote to extend background checks to most gun purchases, though Reid has yet to announce a strategy to successfully move the measure forward.
ThinkProgress interns Abigail Bessler and Shannon Greenwood contributed research to this post.