Obama again urges Congress to pass gun laws
Updated: 2016-06-17 09:35
US President Barack Obama (R) and Vice President Joe Biden depart a makeshift memorial after placing flowers in memory of shooting victims of the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, US, June 16, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
ORLANDO, the United States - US President Barack Obama on Thursday again urged Republican-controlled Congress to pass stricter gun control laws during his visit to Orlando in the wake of the country's deadliest mass shooting incident.
"Those who were killed and injured here were gunned down by a single killer with a powerful assault weapon," Obama told reporters. "The motives of this killer may have been different than the mass killers in Aurora, or Newtown. But the instruments of death were so similar. Now another 49 innocent people are dead. Another 53 are injured. Some are still fighting for their lives."
At least 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded, including a police officer, early Sunday morning in a shooting spree at a popular LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It was the deadliest terror attack in the US history since 9/11 in 2001.
The gunman, identified by authorities as Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida, was found dead inside the nightclub after a shootout with the police.
"I truly hope that senators rise to the moment and do the right thing. We can stop some tragedies. We can save some lives. If we don't act, we will keep seeing more massacres like this," said Obama.
Following the 2012 school mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, which claimed 26 lives, including 20 children, the Obama administration initiated but failed to push stronger gun control laws.
The laws, whose sections included expanded background checks and bans on assault weapons, were stymied in Congress after staunch opposition from Republican lawmakers and gun-rights lobby groups.
During his presidency, Obama presided over more than a dozen of high-profile mass shootings, and in an interview last year he called the failure to reform US gun laws "one of the greatest frustrations" of his presidency.