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Opinion

Opinion: A powerless president can't fight gun violence

Gun violence kills the population equivalent of a small city every year in the United States. It's not that Americans don't want that to change, it's that they're left out to dry by politicians, says DW's Miodrag Soric.

How could anyone imagine it: 34,000 Americans die from gunshot wounds every year. That's the population of a small city. For terrorists, the mentally ill, criminals and practically everyone else, getting their hands on a gun is as easy as taking candy from a baby. Pistols and even automatic weapons aren't sold exclusively in gun shops. Americans can buy them at trade shows or on the internet. Americans own a minimum of 310 million weapons.

Omar Mateen, who killed 49 people at a night club in Orlando, did not have any difficulty getting a gun. That's despite the fact that he had been questioned by the FBI over alleged terror plans.

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Miodrag Soric reports for DW from Washington, DC

The vast majority of Americans believe the country needs stricter gun control laws. It's the politicians who - for years - have miserably failed. The NRA gun lobby is holding the United States hostage by greasing the palms of lawmakers who need money to finance their electoral campaigns. It's corruption à l'américaine.

And then there's the powerless president. US President Barack Obama who after every massacre - like the ones in San Bernardino, Newtown and most recently in Orlando - goes on television but can only offer kind words. His hands are tied until Congress takes action.

Lawmakers, particularly Republicans in the House of Representatives, are going to keep playing for time until the coming elections in November. During the election campaign they'll wear their supposed patriotism on their sleeves for everyone to see. They will put their hands on their hearts while the national anthem is played at campaign events, but they're hypocrites! Many are anything but patriots. They are the enemies of their own people. Not even the worst Islamic extremists manage to kill tens of thousands of Americans every year. Lawmakers' refusal to pass stricter gun control laws leads to extremists, Islamists and crazy or mentally instable men and women getting guns easily and killing Americans. And it happens every day.

How numb does a society have to be to accept that as a fact of life?

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