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The President's Weekly Address

December 05, 2015

Hi, everybody. This weekend, our hearts are with the people of San Bernardino, another American community shattered by unspeakable violence. We salute the first responders—the police, the SWAT teams, the EMTs—who responded so quickly, with such courage, and saved lives. We pray for the injured as they fight to recover from their wounds.

Most of all, we stand with 14 families whose hearts are broken. We're learning more about their loved ones—the men and women, the beautiful lives—that were lost. They were doing what so many of us do this time of year: enjoying the holidays, celebrating with each other, rejoicing in the bonds of friendship and community that bind us together as Americans. Their deaths are an absolute tragedy, not just for San Bernardino, but for our country.

We're also learning more about the killers. And we're working to get a full picture of their motives: why they committed these revolting acts. It's important to let the investigators do their job. And we need to know all the facts. And at my direction, Federal law enforcement is helping in every way that they can. We're going to get to the bottom of this.

It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror. And if so, it would underscore a threat we've been focused on for years: the danger of people succumbing to violent extremist ideologies. We know that ISIL and other terrorist groups are actively encouraging people—around the world and in our country—to commit terrible acts of violence, oftentimes as lone-wolf actors. And even as we work to prevent attacks, all of us—Government, law enforcement, communities, faith leaders—need to work together to prevent people from falling victim to these hateful ideologies.

More broadly, this tragedy reminds us of our obligation to do everything in our power, together, to keep our communities safe. We know that the killers in San Bernardino used military-style assault weapons—weapons of war—to kill as many people as they could. It's another tragic reminder that here in America, it's way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.

For example, right now people on the no-fly list can walk into a store and buy a gun. That's insane. If you're too dangerous to board a plane, you're too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun. And so I'm calling on Congress to close this loophole now. We may not be able to prevent every tragedy, but at a bare minimum, we shouldn't be making it so easy for potential terrorists or criminals to get their hands on a gun that they could use against Americans.

Today, in San Bernardino, investigators are searching for answers. Across our country, law enforcement professionals are tireless. They're working around the clock, as always, to protect our communities. As President, my highest priority is the security and safety of the American people.

This is work that should unite us all—as Americans—so that we're doing everything in our power to defend our country. That's how we can honor the lives we lost in San Bernardino. That's how we can send a message to all those who would try to hurt us. We are Americans. We will uphold our values: a free and open society. We are strong, and we are resilient, and we will not be terrorized.

NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 2:50 p.m. on December 4 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast on December 5. In the address, the President referred to Tashfeen Malik and Syed Rizwan Farook, suspected perpetrators of the shootings and attempted bombing at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, CA, on December 2. He also referred to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist organization. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 4, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on December 5.

Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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