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Obama appeals for gun control as gunman kills three

Obama appeals for gun control as gunman kills three

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama on Saturday once again urged his nation to accept gun control as an armed man killed three people in the western United States.

The gunman armed with an AK-47 burst into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs on Friday and killed three people, including a police officer.

“We have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets. Period,” Mr Obama said in a statement. “Enough is enough,” he added.

Police said the gunman, 57-year-old Robert Dear, walked out of the facility after a five-hour standoff and surrendered.

During the standoff, he shot 12 people, including five police officers hit while evacuating people trapped inside the centre.

“The last thing Americans should have to do, over the holidays or any day, is comfort the families of people killed by gun violence,” said Mr Obama who, like millions of Americans, was celebrating the Thanksgiving holidays when the shooting happened.

“This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal,” he said while urging Americans to support his efforts for introducing stricter gun control laws “if we truly care about this … with a truly clean conscience”.

Colorado Springs police announced on Saturday that one of the injured officers, Garrett Swasey, 44, was killed in the shooting.

Another victim, Jennifer Motolinia, hid behind a table inside the centre and called her brother to ask him to “take care of her babies” before she died.

A Planned Parenthood centre is a clinic that advises people on contraception, family planning and reproductive problems. Many religious Christians oppose such facilities and there have been several attacks in the past on such centres.

“We don’t yet know what this particular gunman’s so-called motive was for shooting twelve people, or for terrorising an entire community,” Mr Obama said. “What we do know is that he killed a cop in the line of duty, along with two of the citizens that police officer was trying to protect.”

President Obama has been trying to implement strong gun control laws in his country since the Dec 14, 2012 shooting, when a man armed with an assault rifle and two semi-automatic pistols killed 28 people, including 20 children under the age of seven, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

But his efforts have been frustrated by pro-gun lobbies that oppose any restriction on purchasing or carrying a weapon.

Last month, senior Obama administration officials indicated that the president might enforce gun control laws through an executive order, as there’s not enough support in the US Congress for his plan. Republican lawmakers have vowed to oppose his move.

Published in Dawn, November 29th, 2015

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