For the second day in a row, President Obama spoke forcefully about the scourge of gun violence in America.
“This is happening every single day in forgotten neighborhoods around the country. Every single day, kids are just running for their lives just trying to get to school,” Obama said at a White House press conference that followed an event announcing the departure of Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
On Thursday, America experienced yet another mass shooting when a heavily armed gunman killed nine people and injured several others at a community college in southwest Oregon. The gunman – identified by authorities as 26-year-old Christopher Harper Mercer – apparently left a hate-filled note at the crime scene, according to law enforcement officials. Harper Mercer owned a total of 13 guns, all purchased legally, according to authorities. Six of the weapons were recovered at the scene of the shooting.
Asked Friday what he would do differently to address gun violence, Obama said he has directed his staff to identify ways to enforce existing laws to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Obama once again called on the American people to pressure Congress to pass gun control legislation.
“This will not change until the politics changes, and the behavior of elected officials changes,” Obama said. “The main thing I’m going to do is … talk about this on a regular basis. And I will politicize this because our inaction is a political decision we are making.”
On Thursday evening, in another statement at the White House, a clearly frustrated and angry Obama said that “our thoughts and prayers are not enough” to respond to gun violence. “We’ve become numb to this,” he added.
In 2015 alone, there have been 45 school shootings in the U.S., according to the group Everytown for Gun Safety. Obama has spoken after mass shootings more than a dozen times during his time in office. An effort to expand background checks in the wake of the shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 people – including 20 first-graders – were killed, was blocked in the Senate.
Obama also took Congress to task over some Republican members voting to “shut down the government.” The House and Senate passed an 11th-hour spending bill to keep the lights on Wednesday, avoiding a government shutdown over federal funding for Planned Parenthood. The short-term spending bill keeps the government funded through mid-December.
“This is not the way the United States should be operating,” Obama said, adding, “I want ot be clear. I will not sign another short-sighted spending bill like the one Congress sent me this week.”
Obama added: “At some point we have to want to govern and not just play politics.”
NBC News contributed to this article.