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Obama On Charleston Shooting: I've Made This Kind Of Speech 'Too Many Times'

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

President Obama took to the podium earlier today to react to the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. The church's pastor and eight others were killed last night.

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BARACK OBAMA: This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked, and we know that hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's also not the first time the president has had to address a mass shooting during his presidency, a point he stressed in his statement.

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OBAMA: I've had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. We don't have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.

Now is the time for mourning and for healing, but let's be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it'd be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. And at some point, it's going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.

CORNISH: That was President Obama earlier today at the White House reacting to news of the mass shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. We'll have more reaction elsewhere in the program, including from Charleston's mayor, Joe Riley, and the latest in the investigation. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.