Obama: Gun Safety Measures Won't Eliminate Violence, But They Could Save Lives

06/19/2015 06:00 pm ET

President Barack Obama spoke about the need for more gun control during remarks at the U.S. Conference of Mayors on Friday.

"I refuse to act as if this is the new normal, or to pretend that it's simply sufficient to grieve and that any mention about us doing something to stop it is somehow politicizing the problem," Obama said while speaking about the Wednesday shooting at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine people dead.

Obama said Congress should have passed "some common-sense gun safety reforms" after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. A gun-buyer background check bill that was supported by nearly 90 percent of Americans failed to pass in April 2013, just months after the Newtown shooting left 20 elementary school children and seven adults, including shooter Adam Lanza, dead.

"We wouldn't have prevented every act of violence, or even most. We don't know it would have prevented what happened in Charleston. No reform can guarantee the elimination of violence," Obama said. "But we might still have some Americans with us."

Obama said extending sympathy to the families of gun violence victims isn't enough, urging the mayors to help try to change public opinion on gun control.

"Ultimately Congress will follow the people, and we have to stop being confused by this. At some point as a country, we have to reckon with what happens," Obama said. "It is not good enough simply to show sympathy. You don't see murder on this kind of scale with this kind of frequency in any other advanced nation on Earth."

Obama previously spoke on the Charleston shooting at a press conference on Thursday, calling it "a tragedy."

"I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times," he continued. "Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun."

Watch Obama speak on gun control above.

Also on HuffPost:

Politicians On Charleston Shooting
Suggest a correction