Obama meets with San Bernardino victims’ families, presses on gun violence – Politico
President Barack Obama pressed his case for new efforts to prevent gun violence after meeting with the San Bernardino victims’ families on Friday.
Obama spent about three hours talking privately with most of the victims’ families and first responders during a stop in California on the way to his two-week vacation in Hawaii. Obama praised the families’ resolve in response to the terrorist attack that killed 14 people earlier this month.
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“Despite the pain and the heartache that they’re feeling, they could not have been more inspiring, and more proud of their loved ones, and more insistent that something good comes out of this tragedy,” Obama said, speaking to reporters in a classroom in Indian Springs High School. “And many of them are already taking initiatives to reach out, to speak out on behalf of community and tolerance and treating people with respect. Many were interested in how we can prevent shootings like this from happening in the future.”
With new gun control legislation unlikely to pass Congress, Obama has said his administration is “scrubbing” the books for new executive actions he can take. He is likely to issue fresh guidelines not long after his return to Washington in January that would require more small-scale gunsellers to conduct background checks.
In the wake of the attacks in both Paris and San Bernardino by apparent Islamic extremists, Obama has decried political rhetoric that demonizes Muslims. On Friday, he indirectly reiterated that message, saying the victims’ families are “representative of the strength and the unity and the love that exists in this community and in this country.”
Obama continued, “as we go into the holiday season, even as we are vigilant about preventing terrorist attacks from happening, even as we insist that we can’t accept the notion of mass shootings in public places and places of work and worship, we have to remind ourselves of the overwhelming good that exists out there.”