'The gun issue' is at the core of this painful week of shootings, Obama says

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President Obama called this week “painful” and said that guns are the connecting factors in this week’s shootings of Philando Castro, Alton Sterling and the police officers in Dallas.


“If you care about the safety of police officers, you can’t set aside the gun issue and pretend that is irrelevant,” Obama said during a news conference in Brussels.

“We might not see that issue as connected to what happened in Dallas, but part of what is creating tensions between communities and police is that police are having a really difficult time in communities where guns are everywhere,” Obama said.

Obama noted that during the shooting in Dallas, police officers had to deal with peaceful protesters having guns, since Texas in an open-carry state.

Although not naming Donald Trump by name, Obama also pushed back on his comments on Friday that the country has become more divided.

“As painful as this week as been, I firmly believe that America is not as divided as some suggest,” Obama said.

In terms of racial discrimination, “things have gotten better, substantially better,” Obama said, but nothing—not his election, not the Civil Rights Act—can undue the country's painful history on race.


But Obama cautioned about assuming the motives of Micah Xavier Johnson, the shooter in Dallas, calling in a "demented" individual. "I think the danger is that we somehow suggest that the act of a troubled individual speaks to some larger political statement across the country. It doesn't," Obama said.