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Obama on Charleston: ‘Not Enough to Feel Bad,’ We Must Change Gun Laws
WTF Podcast

Name: WTF Podcast


Name: WTF

Barack Obama

Name: Barack Obama

Employment: The White House

Position: President

, Marc Maron

Name: Marc Maron

Pasadena, Calif.

Name: Pasadena, Calif.


OBAMA: “The grieving that the country feels is real, the sympathy, obviously the prioritizing comforting the families, all that is important. But I think part of the point that I want to make was that it’s not enough just to feel bad. There are actions that could be taken to make events like this less likely. And one of those actions we could take would be to enhance some basic commonsense gun safety laws that, by the way, the majority of gun owners support. This is unique to our country. There is no other advanced nation on Earth that tolerates multiple shootings on a regular basis and considers that normal. And to some degree that’s what’s happened in this country, it’s become something that we expect.”
MARON: “The framing is that it is a crazy person.”
OBAMA: “It’s a crazy person, you can’t help it. But the truth of the matter is that this doesn’t happen with this kind of frequency in other countries. When Australia had a mass killing, I think it was in Tasmania about 25 years ago, it was just so shocking to the system, the entire country said, ‘Well, we’re going to completely change our gun laws’. And they did, and it hasn’t happened since.”
MARON: “And also when you came in office, I mean, I know gun owners, I grew up in New Mexico. My father was a gun owner –“
OBAMA: “Yes.”
MARON: “—That there was this tremendous fear like, the guns are [indecipherable]; they gonna come for our guns. And that is a common refrain.”
OBAMA: “Well in fact typically, right after Newtown happened, for example, gun sales shot up and ammunition shot up. Each time that these events occur, ironically, gun manufacturers make out like bandits — partly because of this fear that’s turned up that, you know, the federal government and the black helicopters are all coming to get your guns. And part of my argument is that, it is important for folks to understand how hunting and sportsmanship around firearms is really important to a lot of people. And it’s part of how they grew up, part of the bonding they had with their dad, it evokes all kinds of memories and traditions. I think, you have to be respectful of that. The question is just, is there a way of accommodating that legitimate set of traditions with some common sense stuff that prevents a 21-year-old who is angry about something, or confused about something, or is racist or is deranged, from going into a gun store and suddenly is packing, and can do enormous harm. And that is not something that we have every fully come to terms with. And unfortunately the grip of NRA on Congress is extremely strong. I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress. And I don’t foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves this is not normal, this is something that we can change and we’re going to change it. And if you don’t have that kind of public and voter pressure then it’s not going to change from the inside.”
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