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Obama Calls for Stronger Gun Laws After California Shooting

President Obama in the Oval Office on Thursday. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

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WASHINGTON — President Obama edged closer Saturday to declaring the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 people a terrorist attack, but stuck to his prescription that the answer to preventing such tragedies was gun limits.

“It is entirely possible that these two attackers were radicalized to commit this act of terror,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly radio address, broadcast a day after the F.B.I. declared that it was treating the massacre as an 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.”

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Mr. Obama noted that investigators must be allowed to complete their work. But he specifically cited the efforts of the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS, to inspire people in Europe and the United States to stage terror attacks.

“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,” the president said. “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.”

Whatever their motives, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the husband and wife who the authorities say walked into a conference center and killed 14 people, most of whom were Mr. Farook’s co-workers, had military-style firearms, Mr. Obama noted.

“We know that the killers in San Bernardino used military-style assault weapons — weapons of war — to kill as many people as they could,” he said. “It’s another tragic reminder that here in America it’s way too easy for dangerous people to get their hands on a gun.”

Mr. Obama repeated his administration’s insistence that Congress pass a law forbidding those on the government’s no-fly list from being able to buy a gun, a measure that was voted down in the Senate on Thursday 54 to 45.

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