Obama: Navy Yard shooting must inspire gun law change
"The murder rate with guns is 10 times what it is in other developed nations. There is nothing inevitable about it.
"The main difference that sets our nation apart, what makes us so susceptible to so many mass shootings is we don’t do enough, we don’t take the basic common sense actions to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people," the president added.
"What is different in America is that it is easy to get your hands on a gun."
Obama admitted that it looked unlikely that change would come from Washington, but called on American voters to insist on reform.
After 20 children and six adults were killed in a school rampage in Newtown, Connecticut in December, Obama called for tougher enhanced background checks on gun buyers and a ban on assault-style rifles.
But the measures foundered in Congress, partly due to a fierce lobbying campaign by pro-gun groups and opposition from some of his fellow Democrats from conservative states.
Lawmakers now see little immediate prospect of getting a new gun reform bill before Congress.
Figures released this month by the FBI showed that 14,827 people were murdered last year in the United States.
This was well down from the 24,526 killed in 1993, when the country’s population was smaller, but the rate -- 4.7 murders per 100,000 people -- was significantly higher than those in other wealthy nations.
The comparable rate is 0.4 in Japan, 0.8 in Germany, 1.0 in Australia, 1.1 in France and 1.2 in Britain, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The United States is one of the world’s most heavily-armed nations, with between a third and half of all Americans owning guns.
The shooter in Monday’s tragedy, 34-year-old contractor Aaron Alexis, was working on a navy contract that gave him access to the base, despite prior run-ins with police.
Questions have been asked about how a man with a history of mental instability and of arrests for gun-related complaints was able to buy a gun legally and smuggle it onto the base.