US President Barack Obama spoke out about the recent pair of mass shootings in Kansas and Michigan during a trip to Jacksonville, Florida, on Friday.
“These acts may not dominate the news today,” he said. “But these are two more communities in America that are torn apart by grief. And I felt it was important for me to say something today because, somehow, as I’ve said before, this becomes routine.”
On Thursday, 38-year-old Cedric Young allegedly killed three people at the lawn-mower factory where he worked in Hesston, Kansas. Police said he injured 14 others throughout Harvey County in other shootings before he was killed in a shootout with police.
That mass shooting came five days after Jason Dalton, a 45-year-old Uber driver, killed six people at random during a shooting spree that took place near Kalamazoo, Michigan.
“We cannot become numb to this,” Obama said. “Anybody who says they want to keep the American people safe has to care about this. Because it’s happening in far too many towns and affecting far too many Americans.”
“And right now, this Congress may not have an appetite to do something about it but we need one that does,” he added. “As long as I am in this office I am going to keep bringing this up. Even if it is not getting the same attention that it should.”
Obama lamented how routine he said mass shootings have become in the country. There have been 34 mass shootings so far in 2016, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The non-profit monitors mass shootings, which it considers any incident where more than four people are shot. (Definitions of mass shootings vary. The FBI considers a mass shooting to be an incident in which three or more people were killed.)
“I wish I didn’t have to keep on talking about it,” Obama said. “Lord knows, I wish I didn’t have to make these phone calls and comfort families.”
“So, I hope all of you pay attention to this,” he continued. “I hope the media pays attention to this. Once a week, we have these shootings, and it doesn’t dominate the news, and that’s got to change.”
Earlier this year, Obama announced new executive actions on guns. But the effectiveness of those actions remains murky, at best.
Watch Obama’s remarks at roughly the 23:00 minute mark below:
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