Obama: Gun reform would have kept 'some more Americans' alive

Obama: Gun reform would have kept 'some more Americans' alive

President Obama said on Friday that if lawmakers had responded to his earlier calls for reform of the nation’s gun laws “we might have some more Americans still here with us.”

“You all might have to attend fewer funerals,” he said. “Some families might still be whole.”

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Obama made the remarks in the wake of a mass shooting in Charleston, S.C. Nine people were killed at a historic black church in the city on Wednesday evening. Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man, has been charged with nine counts of murder in the atrocity. 

Obama made the remarks as he asserted that he would not abandon his quest fo stricter gun control. 

“I am not resigned,” Obama said at the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco.

“I refuse to pretend this is the new normal,” he said. “I have faith we will eventually do the right thing.

“Ultimately Congress will follow the people,” Obama added. “At some point as a country we have to reckon with what happens.”

Obama also argued on Friday that the nation’s mayors often bear the brunt of gun violence.

“Few people understand the problem of gun violence like our mayors do,” he said. “It tears at the fabric of the community,” he added. “It costs this country dearly.”

The president additionally criticized Congress for avoiding tighter gun control in the past.

He cited the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting as the most glaring missed opportunity for reforms.

Obama urged Americans to continue battling racism amid accusations that Roof uttered hateful epithets before attacking his victims on Wednesday night.

“The apparent motivations of the shooter remind us that racism remains a blight that we have to combat together,” he said. “We have to be vigilant because it still lingers.”

Obama additionally charged that Americans should not accept the idea that lax U.S. gun laws  had no impact on levels of violence.

“Every other country on Earth has violent and unstable people,” he said. “What’s different is that not every country is awash with easily accessible guns.”