In the wake of the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs last Friday, a weary-sounding President Obama voiced Tuesday his hope — yet again — that a mass shooting in America might actually inspire action on gun control.
Taking questions in Paris where he is attending an international summit on climate change, the president sounded what has become a familiar post-tragedy refrain: Gun violence on such a scale occurs in no other developed nation and while the U.S. devotes “enormous resources” to fighting terrorism abroad, it seems powerless to stem the “regular process of gun homicides” at home.
“I say this every time we’ve got one of these mass shootings: This just doesn’t happen in other countries,” he said.
He affirmed that he would continue to pursue courses that his administration can take in its final year, but ultimately, Congress, states, and local governments would need to take action.
The president also defended Planned Parenthood, and condemned the violent, mendacious rhetoric espoused predominantly by Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail. The suspect in the shooting was reported to have said “No more baby parts” upon being arrested, echoing comments from politicians who have accused the women’s health care provider of profiteering from the sale of fetal tissue. A Congressional probe and several state investigations into the organization have all failed to find any criminal wrongdoing.
“I think it’s fair to have a legitimate, honest debate about abortion,” the president said. “How we talk about it — making sure that we’re taking about it factually, accurately, and not demonizing organizations like Planned Parenthood is important.”
Police officers and fire department personnel lead people who were in a Planned Parenthood center out of an armored vehicle, after reports of an active shooter in Colorado Springs, Colorado November 27, 2015. REUTERS/Isaiah J. Downing