President Barack Obama on Saturday called the shooting rampage in San Bernardino, California, earlier this week “another tragic reminder that here in America it’s way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.”
The president called on Congress to close a loophole that would prevent suspected terrorists from legally buying guns. Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a bill to close the loophole. They also blocked a bill that would expand background checks to gun shows and online firearm sales, and prohibit convicted felons and the mentally ill from having access to weapons.
Calling the U.S. gun law loophole “insane,” Obama said, “If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun. We may not be able to prevent every tragedy, but—at a bare minimum—we shouldn’t be making it so easy for potential terrorists or criminals to get their hands on a gun that they could use against Americans.”
According to ShootingTracker.com, which tracks gun deaths in America, the U.S. has seen 355 mass shootings so far in 2015.
On Wednesday, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed 14 people and wounded 21 others at a holiday party at a social services center in San Bernardino, according to police. Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before she and her husband carried out the attack, law enforcement sources told NBC News on Friday.
The president said Saturday it is “entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror.” He later cited efforts by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, to urge people from Western countries to organize terror attacks.
“We know that ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people—around the world and in our country—to commit terrible acts of violence, often times as lone wolf actors,” he added. “And even as we work to prevent attacks, all of us—government, law enforcement, communities, faith leaders—need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.”
Farook, 28, and Malik, 27, were killed in a shootout with police more than four hours after the mass murder.