Standing at the memorial for the victims of the terrorist attack at a gay night club in Orlando, Florida, President Barack Obama implicitly blamed Republicans for the attack because they blocked gun control laws.
Obama referred to both attackers in San Bernardino and Orlando as “homegrown” and “lone wolf” terrorists who had access to guns, comparing them to other mass shooters on American soil.
“Our politics have conspired to make it as easy as possible for a terrorist — or just a disturbed individual to like those in Aurora or Newtown — to buy extraordinary powerful weapons, and they can do so legally,” he said.
Obama flew to Orlando this afternoon and was joined by Vice President Joe Biden. The pair went to the Orlando Magic arena to meet the families, about two miles from the night club where the attack occurred.
Later, Obama said that the grieving families he met “don’t care about politics.”
“Neither do I. Neither does Joe,” Obama said, referring to the Vice President. “This debate needs to change. It’s outgrown the old political stalemates. Those who defend the easy accessibility of assault weapons should meet these families.”
Obama and Biden traveled to the makeshift memorial at the Phillips Center and placed a wreath of flowers at the scene before making his comments.
He lectured Second Amendment gun rights advocates, ordering them to explain “why it is they think our liberty requires these repeated tragedies.”
“That’s not the meaning of liberty,” he said angrily.
The president dismissed the argument from gun rights supporters that if more people had been armed in the club, the gunman could have been stopped.
“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,” he said.
Obama asserted that he would destroy ISIS but that it was also important for Americans to support more gun control.
“I truly hope that senators rise to the moment and do the right thing,” he said, referring to upcoming gun control measures. “We can stop some tragedies. We can save some lives. If we don’t act, we will keep seeing more massacres like this.”
He specifically condemned Senate Republicans for blocking gun control after the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut.
“I hope that senators who voted no on background checks after Newtown have a change of heart,” he said. “And then I hope the House does the right thing and helps to end the plague of violence that these weapons inflict on so many lives.”
Obama also urged Americans to rethink their treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
“It’s a good time for us to reflect on how we treat each other. We have to end discrimination and violence against our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community.”