Tags: SC Church Shooting | obama | south carolina | shooting | blight

Obama: South Carolina Shooting Shows Racism Still a 'Blight' in US

Friday, 19 June 2015 07:11 PM

President Barack Obama on Friday said a mass shooting at a black church in South Carolina exposed the "blight" of racism still present in America, and railed against critics who have accused him of politicizing a tragedy to talk about tougher gun laws.

Obama, speaking to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said the murder of nine people at an historic African-American church in Charleston shows the need for vigilance against racism.

"The apparent motivations of the shooter remind us that racism remains a blight that we have to combat together," Obama said.

But he invoked other recent mass shootings at a school in Newtown, Connecticut and movie theater in Aurora, Colorado to argue for the need for reforms to gun laws, a politically fraught subject in a country whose constitution guarantees the right to own guns.

"We should be able to talk about this issue as citizens without demonizing all gun owners who are overwhelmingly law abiding, but also without suggesting that any debate about this involves a wild-eyed plot to take everybody's guns away," Obama said.

Obama pushed for tighter controls on guns after the 2012 school shootings in Newtown, but was foiled by the politically power gun lobby and failed to convince Congress.

Noting more than 11,000 Americans were killed by gun violence in 2013, Obama acknowledged that his failed proposals "wouldn't have prevented every act of violence" but said they would have stopped some of them.

"You don't see murder on this kind of scale, with this kind of frequency, in any other advanced nation on earth," he said.

"Every country has violent, hateful or mentally unstable people. What's different is that not every country is awash with easily accessible guns," he said.

Obama said it's unlikely that Congress will work on new gun safety laws in the near future, but said he believes public opinion eventually will shift and compel lawmakers to act.

"I refuse to act as if this is the new normal, or to pretend that it's simply sufficient to grieve, and that any mention of doing something to stop it is somehow politicizing the problem," Obama said.

© 2018 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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In the aftermath of the South Carolina shooting at a black church, President Barack Obama told U.S. mayors on Friday that racism remains a "blight" that the United States has to "combat together."
obama, south carolina, shooting, blight
Friday, 19 June 2015 07:11 PM
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