By Jordan Fabian - 02/26/16 02:16 PM EST
Obama: Media should pay attention to gun violence
President Obama on Friday lamented a mass shooting earlier this week in Hesston, Kan., calling on the media to pay greater attention to the scourge of gun violence in America.
The president said he spoke by phone with the town's mayor, David Kaufman, to offer his condolences, expressing dismay it was the second such call he had to make in less than a week. The shooting followed another in Kalamazoo, Mich., that claimed six lives.
"These acts may not dominate the news today. But these are two more communities in America that are torn apart by grief," Obama said during a speech in Jacksonville, Fla.
"The real tragedy is the degree to which this has become routine."
An armed gunman wielding an "assault-style" firearm went on a rampage in Hesston, 35 miles north of Wichita, opening fire at the factory where he once worked. The assailant killed three people and wounded 14 before being shot dead by police.
The suspect has not been identified.
It's the latest in a string of mass shootings that have cast a cloud over Obama's presidency. On Feb. 20., a 45-year-old Uber driver in Kalamazoo was identified as killing six people and wounding two during a shooting spree.
In a media environment dominated by the 2016 campaign, Obama suggested that greater coverage of those incidents would help motivate the public to take action to prevent future mass shootings.
"I hope all of you pay attention to this, I hope the media pays attention to this," the president said. "Once a week, we have these shootings and it doesn't dominate the news. That's gotta change."
Obama has made emotional calls for new gun laws after a 2012 shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school and a historically African-American church in Charleston, S.C., last year.
But the president has repeatedly been blocked Republicans in Congress from passing legislation designed to reduce mass shootings, including universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.
Obama handed down new executive actions in January that clarify which gun sellers are required to conduct background checks on buyers.
The actions narrowed, but did not close, the so-called "gun-show loophole" that allows certain private sellers, online vendors and firearms show sellers to skirt background-check requirements.
"This Congress may not have any appetite to do something about it. But we need one that does," the president said.
"As long as I hold this office, I am going to keep bringing this up, even if it's not getting the same attention that it should."