CHICAGO — In two appearances over the weekend, President Barack Obama cited neighborhood violence in Chicago as an example of what he fears is a national acceptance of a "new normal" of gun-involved mayhem.
Speaking Saturday at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner in Washington, Obama lamented that "upward mobility in this country has slipped out of reach for too many people — and that's especially true in communities with large African-American populations."
As part of a call to "to do more to rebuild neighborhoods," Obama said, "we can't rest until all of our children can go to school or walk down the street free from the fear that they will be struck down by a stray bullet."
"Just two days ago, in my hometown of Chicago, 13 people were shot during a basketball game, including a 3-year-old girl," Obama said of an incident in Back of the Yards last week.
Two men have reportedly been arrested in connection with the shooting. Those injured included a 3-year-old boy, Deonta' Howard.
On Sunday, at a memorial service for those killed at Washington's Navy Yard shootings earlier this month, Obama said as president, he has "now grieved with five American communities ripped apart by mass violence: Fort Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook. And now, the Washington Navy Yard."
"And these mass shootings occur against a backdrop of daily tragedies, as an epidemic of gun violence tears apart communities acorss America — from the streets of Chicago to neighborhoods not far from here," he said.
Obama said despite round-the-clock news coverage of violence, "sometimes I fear there's a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is, that this is the new normal," Obama said. "We can't accept this."
Obama said "it's easy" for too many people to obtain guns. He has pressed for more background checks and reinstating a ban on assault weapons.