Obama on shootings: ‘We don’t have to live this way’

Updated
President Barack Obama waves as he walks off stage after speaking in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in...
President Barack Obama waves as he walks off stage after speaking in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex, Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, in...
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

One day after the deadly shooting spree at DC’s Navy Yard, President Obama spoke out on the many issues paralyzing Washington lawmakers–including guns and immigration reform–and encouraged Americans to keep pushing.

Americans remain “more vulnerable to these kinds of mass shootings” without a more comprehensive background checks system in place, the president said.

“We don’t have to” live that way, Obama said Tuesday in an interview with Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart. “The overwhelming majority of the American people understand that there are some common sense gun safety laws that we can put in place that could prevent some of this tragedy from happening.”

After the attacks in Tucson, Aurora, Newtown–and now the DC Navy Yard–it’s unclear whether the latest shooting rampage will breathe new life into the controversial gun debate. Gun safety advocates have suffered more blows than successes in recent months, from Congress rejecting a bill to expand background checks in April and the recall elections in Colorado last week.

“The next phase now is for Congress to go ahead and move,” Obama said. “This is an example of what we’ve seen again and again on immigration reform, on gun control, on a commonsense budget.”

The president also said he fears Americans will stop pushing Congress to act on immigration, saying the public is the main “path to get this done.”

“I do get a little worried that advocates of immigration reform start losing heart and immediately thinking, ‘Well yeah…if Congress doesn’t act, we’ll just have the president sign something and that’ll take care of it and we won’t have to worry about it,’” he said.

The president blamed John Boehner for the lack of progress on immigration. “The votes are there. The only thing that’s preventing it is– you know, Speaker Boehner’s decided that– he doesn’t wanna call it right now.”

Obama stressed the “urgency” of working together to avoid a possible government shutdown.

“Congress has a lot of work to do right now,” he said. “We don’t have a budget that’s passed.  We’re hearing that a certain faction of Republicans, in the House of Representatives in particular, are arguing for government shutdown or even a default for the United States of America losing our financial credibility around the world if they don’t get 100% of what they want.”

Obama on shootings: 'We don't have to live this way'

Updated