When a gunman opened fire in Pulse, a nightclub and safe haven frequented by members of the LGBT community, killing 49 and injuring 53 on June 12, America tallied yet another mass shooting that would call for thoughts, prayers, and more talk of gun reform.
It also meant that President Barack Obama – who after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012 created a gun task force to provide recommendations on how to reduce gun violence in America – would have to address another massacre under his presidency. While Obama’s swift action after the Sandy Hook tragedy seemed to mark a significant shift in the gun reform debate – and in the hearts of Americans mourning the death of 20 children and six adults – the 1,002 mass shootings that have occurred after that incident proved otherwise.
Addressing the latest tragedy and his critics, Obama renewed the call for the gun control debate Monday.
“We are going to have to make sure that we think about the risks we are willing to take by being so lax in how we make very powerful firearms available to people in this country,” Obama said. “My concern is that we start getting into a debate, as has happened in the past, which is an either/or debate. It’s not an either/or. It’s a both/and. We have to counter extremism, but we also have to make sure it’s not easy for somebody who decides they want to harm people in this country to be able to obtain weapons to get at them.”
Sadly, as Obama’s presidency winds down, the shootings don’t seem to be doing the same. In 2016 alone, there have already been 133 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
And it’s only June.
Below, we gathered each time Obama has publicly addressed a mass shooting during his presidency. The 13 speeches against the thousand mass shootings that have occurred in his second term speak to the enormous amount of work that must be done to change the gun control debate in America.