Obama stops short of calling for tougher gun control laws

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

President Obama on Monday stopped short of calling for stricter gun control measures as he condemned the shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that left six people dead.

“I think all of us recognize that these kinds of terrible, tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not to do some soul-searching and to examine additional ways that we can reduce violence,” the president said during a bill-signing ceremony in the Oval Office. “And as I've already said, I think there are a lot of elements involved in it, and what I want to do is to bring together law enforcement, community leaders, faith leaders, elected officials of every level to see how we can make continued progress.

“ .... The FBI is working with local officials and they are still investigating what motivated this individual, and as we find out more, I suspect not only the White House but others in Congress and at the local level will have more to say,” he said.

Authorities are investigating the possible motives of the suspect who was killed after a confrontation with police in Oak Creek, Wis. Several news outlets identified the man as Wade Michael Page. According to The Washington PostPage was white, an Army veteran, and may have had extremist racial views. The violent outbreak comes just two weeks after a mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater that left 12 dead and nearly 60 people injured.

Earlier on Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “[Obama] will continue to instruct his administration to take action towards common-sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens, but make it harder and harder for those who should not have weapons under existing law to obtain them.”

Obama also issued a presidential proclamation to lower the American flag at the White House — and all public buildings, military posts, embassies, and other facilities — to half-mast as a sign of respect for the lives lost in the “senseless acts of violence” in Wisconsin. 

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