Obama says the Atlanta shootings show the need to finally bring in 'common sense' gun control laws

  • Former President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the US needed to introduce “common sense gun safety laws.”
  • It comes after a gunman fatally shot 8 people in an Atlanta-area shooting this week.
  • Obama said gun control laws would help “root out the pervasive patterns of hatred and violence in our society.”
  • President Joe Biden is also pushing for reforms to gun control.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Barack Obama said on Wednesday the US needed to introduce “common sense gun safety laws” after a gunman fatally shot 8 people in an Atlanta-area shooting this week.

Robert Aaron Long, 21, was charged with the shooting which left eight people, 6 of whom were Asian women, dead in Atlanta-area massage parlors.

“Even as we’ve battled the pandemic, we’ve continued to neglect the longer-lasting epidemic of gun violence in America,” Obama said on Twitter Wednesday.

“Although the shooter’s motive is not yet clear, the identity of the victims underscores an alarming rise in anti-Asian violence that must end.”

“Yesterday’s shootings are another tragic reminder that we have far more work to do to put in place commonsense gun safety laws and root out the pervasive patterns of hatred and violence in our society,” he said.

President Joe Biden, who was Vice-President under the Obama administration, has pledged to tackle gun violence and called on lawmakers to pass legislation designed to reduce gun violence.

In a statement issued by the White House in February, the president said his administration would reform gun control laws and “will not wait for the next mass shooting to heed that call.”

House Democrats could use their control of both chambers of Congress to try and push through a bill to introduce background checks for all gun purchases within weeks, Insider’s Kayla Epstein reported.

Gun safety activists said advocates of gun reform are in a uniquely strong position to push through reform because the National Rifle Association, which strongly influences Republican opposition to gun control, has been weakened by financial problems and internal strife.

President Obama repeatedly pushed for gun reform during his presidency but consistently ran up against fierce congressional opposition from largely Republican lawmakers.

The former president drew international attention when began to cry in January 2016 as he expressed frustration over a mass shooting that had left 20 children dead in Newtown, Connecticut. 

“Each time this comes up,” Obama said during that speech, “we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying. I reject that thinking.

“We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence.”

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