“We are grieving with Parkland,” Obama said in a tweet on Thursday. “But we are not powerless.”
Obama, who often during his presidency grieved with the nation about gun violence and expressed frustration at congressional inaction, was among those calling for action instead of just thoughts and prayers after a troubled former student opened fire with a military-style rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School .
The accused gunman, Nikolas Cruz, 19, was expelled from the school last year for “disciplinary reasons,” authorities said, and former classmates told media that he displayed problematic behavior and a fascination with guns.
He showed up Wednesday with an AR-15 assault-style rifle and “multiple magazines” of ammunition. Cruz had legally purchased the weapon, his family’s attorney said. He was charged Thursday with 17 counts of murder.
The massacre marked the country’s 18th school shooting of 2018, just 45 days into the year. The U.S. is averaging one school shooting every 60 hours in 2018, more than double the pace during the same period in the previous three years, according to gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.
But instead of tightening lax gun laws, Congress is looking into loosening some restrictions further.
But on Thursday, Trump focused on reports that the gunman was “mentally disturbed” and didn’t even mention guns in his first public remarks about the slaughter. He suggested in a tweet that teachers and students could have done more to prevent the attack.