Obama Speaks On Terrorism And Guns

Photo: REX Shutterstock.
President Obama addressed the United States from the Oval Office on Sunday night, urging patience and calm rather than panic in the wake of a mass shooting that has reignited national fears over a terrorist threat.

In his speech, Obama proposed not just new regulations on guns; he urged Congress to authorize the use of military force in Syria and Iraq. In addition to his request for support for more military force, Obama asked, albeit in a brief part of the speech, for stronger gun laws that would stem the tide of high-powered weapons that flow freely in this country.

Americans, Obama said, no longer have to worry quite as much about things like bombings as they should about "less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society."

He also asked Congress to bar individuals whose names appear on the U.S. No-Fly List — a document compiled through opaque means that has been widely criticized by civil liberties groups as unconstitutional — from buying guns.

"The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it," Obama said. Victory against those who threaten American interests "won't come from giving into fear...we will prevail from being strong and smart."

This is only the third time that Obama has addressed the nation from the Oval Office since taking office in 2009. He spoke following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and to announce the end of combat operations in Iraq in 2010.

Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 people and wounded 21 more on December 2, when the pair attacked the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. Officials are still searching for more information about the couple and their motives. All of the guns and ammunition used in the attack were purchased legally. Congress has repeatedly declined to pursue even small-scale changes to current U.S. gun laws.

As of the most recent public briefing on the investigation, there are no direct links to any international terrorist organizations.

There have been dozens of mass shootings in America since the terrorist bombings in New York in 2001. While federal investigators have arrested suspects believed to be interested in carrying out terrorists plots — many of them through elaborate undercover operations criticized as entrapment — broad surveillance of Muslim-Americans and massive international military intervention has not found evidence of large-scale efforts to attack American interests.

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