Pres­i­dent Obama rips Gun Con­trol Opponents af­ter meet­ing with Or­lando Vic­tims’ Fam­i­lies

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL - By Robin Gradi­son Alexan­der Malli

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama tore into opponents of gun con­trol on a visit to Or­lando on Thurs­day, saying they should meet with the vic­tims of the Or­lando night­club mas­sacre and “ex­plain” their po­si­tions.

Obama and Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den spent the day meet­ing with sur­vivors, the fam­i­lies of vic­tims and first re­spon­ders there, af­ter the worst mass shoot­ing in re­cent U.S. his­tory and the dead­li­est at­tack in the United States since 9/11.

The shooter killed 49 peo­ple at the Pulse night­club. It’s Obama’s 10th visit to a com­mu­nity af­fected by a mass shoot­ing dur­ing his pres­i­dency. Af­ter meet­ing pri­vately with vic­tims and fam­i­lies in down­town Or­lando, Obama and Bi­den vis­ited a memo­rial site, where they placed bou­quets con­sist­ing of 49 white roses, one in hon­our of each of the de­ceased.

“If in fact we want to show the best of our hu­man­ity, then we’re all go­ing to have to work to­gether at ev­ery level of gov­ern­ment across po­lit­i­cal lines to do more to stop killers who want to ter­ror­ize us,” Obama said, adding the U.S. would con­tinue to be “re­lent­less” in fight­ing ex­trem­ist groups like ISIS and al-Qaida.

The pres­i­dent again spoke of his frus­tra­tion over the abil­ity of the shooter to eas­ily and legally ob­tain an as­sault weapon, saying fam­ily mem­bers pleaded with him to “do more” to stop such killings.

“The no­tion that the an­swer to this tragedy would be to make sure that more peo­ple in a night­club are sim­i­larly armed to the killer de­fies com­mon sense,” Obama said. “Those who de­fend the easy ac­ces­si­bil­ity of as­sault weapons should meet these fam­i­lies and ex­plain why that makes sense.”

At Wed­nes­day’s White House brief­ing, press sec­re­tary Josh Earnest spoke about the emo­tional toll of these events on Obama, who has fre­quently trav­elled to af­fected areas af­ter catas­tro­phes and at­tacks. “It would be im­pos­si­ble for him to not be per­son­ally af­fected by these kinds of con­ver­sa­tions and these kinds of in­ter­ac­tions,” he said. “I think the pres­i­dent in the past has in­di­cated that he draws on his faith as he con­sid­ers ful­fill­ing these kinds of re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and Pres­i­dent Barack Obama spent the day in Or­lando on Thurs­day meet­ing with sur­vivors and the fam­i­lies of vic­tims of the mass shoot­ing which oc­curred on Sun­day June 12. Forty-nine peo­ple were killed and the gun­man - an Amer­i­can - is said to have pledged al­le­giance to ISIS.

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