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Obama Vents Frustration Over Mass Shootings
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama says he is frustrated that American society is not willing to keep guns out of the hands of people willing to cause violence on a scale we have seen in the recent spate of mass shootings.
He says the United States is the only place on Earth that puts up with it. In contrast, Obama said, Australia imposed very severe gun laws and hasn't had a mass shooting since.
"We have a different tradition, a Second Amendment," Obama said Tuesday during a question-and-answer session on the social network Tumblr. "Historically, we have respected gun rights. I respect gun right."
But, he said the fact that Congress couldn't even pass a law enforcing a background check makes no sense.
"I have been in Washington for a while now and most things don't surprise me," Obama said. "The fact that 20 6-year-olds were gunned down in the most violent fashion possible, and this town couldn't do anything about it, is stunning to me."
Obama says public opinion needs to change before Congress will be willing to act.
"A lot of people will say it's a mental health problem, it's not a gun problem," Obama said. "The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. It's not the only place that has psychosis, and yet we kill each other in these mass shootings that are exponentially higher than any place else."
The difference, Obama said, is that these shooters can stock up on ammunition in their homes and that is "par for the course."
Obama said America needs to do some soul searching.
He said Congress is terrified of the NRA. The National Rifle Association and the gun manufacturers, Obama said, have deep pockets that are able to move votes in both local and congressional elections.
Despite the impasse, Obama says he is willing to work with anyone to find solutions. But right now, he says, it's not even possible to get anything done.
"And we should be ashamed," Obama said.
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