- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

President Obama said Tuesday the shooting deaths at a Colorado Planned Parenthood show the need for stricter background checks on people buying guns, but acknowledged he can’t push gun-control legislation through Congress in his final year in office.

“I will continue to present those things that I can do administratively,” Mr. Obama said of more gun regulations. “But in the end of the day, Congress, states, local governments are going to have to act in order to make sure that we’re preventing people who are deranged or have violent tendencies from getting weapons that can magnify the damage that they do.”

In an interview last month, Mr. Obama said he hoped to make gun control a top priority of his final year in office.

Speaking at a news conference in Paris, Mr. Obama said his “heart goes out to the families” of victims of Friday’s shootings. A 57-year-old man, Robert Dear Jr., is being held on charges of killing three people, including a police officer, and wounding nine others in the shooting in Colorado Springs.

The president also defended Planned Parenthood, which has come under criticism this year for selling fetal tissue for research.

“It’s fair to have a legitimate, honest debate about abortion,” Mr. Obama said. “It’s a serious, legitimate issue. [But] how we talk about it, making sure that we’re talking about it factually, accurately and not demonizing organizations like Planned Parenthood, I think is important.”

He said Planned Parenthood offices “provide health services to women all across the country.”

“In many cases, it’s the only organization that provides health services to impoverished women,” he said.

Mr. Obama said the U.S. should be as concerned with preventing mass shootings as it is with stopping terrorist attacks.

“We are rightly determined to prevent terrorist attacks wherever they occur, whether in the United States or with friends and allies like France,” he said. “And yet, in the United States, we have the power to do more to prevent what is just a regular process of gun homicides that is unequalled by multiples of five, six, 10 [in other countries], and I think the American people understand that.”

Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who led gun-control efforts as a senator, also used the Planned Parenthood shootings to renew his call for a ban on assault rifles and expanded background checks.

“It’s time for our political system to catch up with the overwhelming majority of the American people who want background checks, who want to keep assault weapons off our streets and out of the hands of people who have no business firing them, and who simply expect their elected officials to forge consensus and to do the right thing,” Mr. Biden said Monday. “We’ve done it before. We must do it again. Enough is enough.”

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