President Obama said Tuesday he hopes a deadly shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic sparks national action to curb gun violence.
During the United Nations climate conference in Paris, Obama expressed exasperation that Congress has failed to pass stricter gun laws in response to a string of mass shootings that have cast a cloud over his presidency.
“I say this every time we've got one of these mass shootings, this just doesn't happen in other countries,” he said.
“We are rightly determined to prevent terrorist attacks wherever they occur, whether in the U.S. or with friends or allies like France. … And yet in the United States we have the power to do more to prevent what is a regular process of gun homicides that is unequaled.”
Obama stressed he is weighing new executive actions on guns, an effort he began in response to an October mass shooting at an Oregon community college. But he said Congress and state governments “have to act” to fully address the problem.
Three people were killed — including one police officer — and nine were injured in a shooting last Friday at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs.
Obama also defended Planned Parenthood's mission, which has faced heavy scrutiny from Republicans and conservatives. The president said its fair to have a debate over abortion rights in the U.S., but warned people not to “demonize” the organization.
“I think it's clear, I've said it before, they provide health services to women all over the country,” Obama said.
The GOP-led House is weighing an effort to strip federal funding from the organization in response to a string of videos that purport to show Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal tissue for profit. Planned Parenthood has denied those allegations and noted that there is no evidence in the videos to support the charges.