Early on Sunday, 49 people were killed and 53 were injured in Orlando, Fla., after gunman Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old American-born Muslim, opened fire at a crowded LGBT nightclub. Later that day, President Barack Obama gave a speech on gun violence, something that has become all too familiar.
Obama's inauguration – Jan. 20, 2009
"Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and begin again the work of remaking America," Mr. Obama said in his inaugural address. Gun violence was not mentioned.
Fort Hood shooting – Nov. 5, 2009
This was the first time Mr. Obama had to speak about a mass shooting during his time in office. He called the shooting at the U.S. military post near Killeen, Tex., "an act of war" and "incomprehensible," but used most of his address to pay tribute to the victims. The President also spoke at length about each of the 13 people who were killed – talking about their background, their families and their jobs. He did not speak about gun control.
"This is a time of war. Yet these Americans did not die on a foreign field of battle. They were killed here, on American soil, in the heart of this great state and the heart of this great American community. This is the fact that makes the tragedy even more painful, even more incomprehensible."
Aurora, Colo., theatre shooting – July 20, 2012
Mr. Obama delivered his speech at the University of Colorado hospital after meeting with the families of the victims. Twelve people were killed in the attack. He did not mention gun control.
"I had a chance to visit with each family, and most of the conversation was filled with memory. It was an opportunity for families to describe how wonderful their brother, or their son or daughter was, and the lives that they have touched, and the dreams that they held for the future. I confessed to them that words are always inadequate in these kinds of situations, but that my main task was to serve as a representative of the entire country and let them know that we are thinking about them at this moment and will continue to think about them each and every day, and that the awareness that not only all of America but much of the world is thinking about them might serve as some comfort."
Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting – Dec. 14, 2012
The President spoke about a mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six adults. He teared up at one point and spoke passionately about change.
"We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a President, but as anybody else would – as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do. … As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it's an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theatre in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago – these neighbourhoods are our neighbourhoods, and these children are our children. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
Assault Weapons Ban vote – April 17, 2013
One month after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the Assault Weapons Ban bill was introduced. It was defeated in the Senate in April, 2013. Mr. Obama gave a speech shortly after the bill was defeated.
"It came down to politics – the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections. They worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as anti-Second Amendment. … All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington."
Charleston, S.C., church shooting – June 17, 2015
Nine black parishioners, including a senior pastor, were killed by a gunman at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston. Mr. Obama's frustration was evident in his speech.
"I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. We don't have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it. … But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point it's going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively."
Umpqua Community College shooting – Oct. 1, 2015
At the UCC campus near Roseburg, Ore., a 26-year-old gunman fatally shot an assistant professor and eight students in a classroom. It was the deadliest shooting in Oregon's modern history. Mr. Obama began his statement by saying "there's been another mass shooting in America." His frustration continued to grow.
"Each time this happens, I am going to say that we can actually do something about it, but we're going to have to change our laws. And this is not something I can do by myself. I've got to have a Congress and I've got to have state legislatures and governors who are willing to work with me on this. … I hope and pray that I don't have to come out again during my tenure as President to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as President, I can't guarantee that. And that's terrible to say. And it can change."
Colorado Springs, Colo., Planned Parenthood shooting – Nov. 27, 2015
A gunman attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic, killing a police officer and two civilians. Mr. Obama gave a statement from Paris and was evidently jaded and frustrated. He continued to say he'll bring the issue to Congress, but placed blame on legislators for not passing a gun law.
"This is not normal. We can't let it become normal. If we truly care about this – if we're going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience – then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough."
San Bernardino, Calif., shooting, Dec. 2, 2015
Fourteen people were killed in a mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center – which was hosting a holiday party – in San Bernardino. Mr. Obama, sitting in the Oval Office, gave a sombre update about the investigation and discussed gun control.
"When individuals decide to do somebody harm, we make it a little harder for them to do it. Right now, it's just too easy. We're going to have to search ourselves as a society to take basic steps to make it harder – not impossible, but harder – for individuals to get access to weapons."
Gun safety reform speech – Jan. 5, 2016
Mr. Obama spoke about executive actions on guns, which was focused on background checks. He also spoke about past shootings, and discussed the actions aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States. At one point, the president appeared overwhelmed, wiping away tears.
"Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying. I reject that thinking. We know we can't stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world. But maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence. … So the gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now, but they cannot hold America hostage. We do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom."
Orlando, Fla., nightclub shooting – June 12, 2016
In what is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, 49 people were killed and 53 injured when a gunman opened fire at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub. In his speech, the President described the attack as an "act of hate" and an "act of terror."
"Today marks the most deadly shooting in American history. The shooter was apparently armed with a handgun and a powerful assault rifle. This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or in a movie theatre, or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that's the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well."