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September 17, 2013

Obama defends economy remarks, says time for Congress to act on guns

President Obama says "commonsense gun safety laws" might prevent some of the mass shootings that he said he fears are becoming an American "ritual."

"The fact that we do not have a firm enough background check system is something that makes us more vulnerable to these kinds of mass shootings," Obama said Tuesday, noting the alleged Navy Yard shooter may have had some mental health problems. "I do get concerned that this becomes a ritual that we go through every three, four months, where we have these horrific mass shootings. Everybody expresses understandable horror. We all embrace the families and and obviously our thoughts and prayers are with those families right now as they're absorbing this incredible loss.

"And yet we're not willing to take some basic actions," he told Noticias Telemundo anchor Jose Diaz-Balart. He said the ball is now in Congress's court, noting that hes' put in place every executive action that he had proposed after the December shootings in Newtown, Conn.

"I've taken steps that are within my control," he said. "The next phase now is for Congress to go ahead and move."

He called the gun control and immigration reform -- as well as the budget -- an area in which "a majority of the American people and even a large percentage of Republicans who are ready to move the country forward, and yet we keep on getting blocked."

He also defended his decision to stick to his speech on the economy hours after the shooting, saying he had been in touch with his national security team, but that, "on the other hand, what is also important to remember is that Congress has a lot of work to do right now."

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