Obama acknowledges shooting death during visit to Nashville
January 30th, 2014
11:30 AM ET
8 months ago

Obama acknowledges shooting death during visit to Nashville

Updated 6:30 p.m. ET, 1/30/2014

(CNN) - It’s the issue that dominated last year’s State of the Union address, but two days after President Barack Obama gave gun control only a brief mention in this year’s speech, he confronted the nation’s gun violence crisis head-on during a stop in Nashville.

Obama headed to Tennessee to talk about education, but he spoke at a high school where students are still reeling from the recent shooting death of one of their classmates.

Obama acknowledged the incident at the beginning of his remarks, calling the shooting “heartbreaking,” and met with the family of the 15-year-old victim.

“The past couple days have been hard and tested people’s spirits,” he said. “Some of you have lost a good friend. So I wanted you to know that Michelle and I have been praying for all of you in the community.”

The shooting that left 15-year-old Kevin Barbee dead happened Tuesday. Another teenager was playing with a pistol when it discharged, striking Barbee in the face.

The shooter, 17-year-old Kaemon Robinson, initially fled, but later turned himself over to police.

“A Metro Schools crisis team is at McGavock right now offering grief counseling to students who need it,” the school district said in a tweet Wednesday.  “This young man’s life was just getting started, and his passing is a great tragedy.”

Police say their investigation is ongoing.

After 2012’s school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama pressured lawmakers to approve new gun restrictions, including new background checks on gun sales. That proposition, considered the most likely to gain bipartisan support, failed to win congressional approval.

Obama signed almost two dozen executive actions designed to combat gun violence, but no further legislative efforts gained traction on Capitol Hill.

At Tuesday’s State of the Union address, Obama devoted only a small portion of his speech to gun control, telling lawmakers he was willing to do more by himself to keep Americans safe from gun violence.

“I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” he said.

CNN’s Aaron Cooper and Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.


Filed under: President Obama • Tennessee
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    The shooting that left 15-year-old Kevin Barbee dead happened Tuesday. Another teenager was playing with a pistol when it discharged, striking Barbee in the face.
    -------------------------
    Terrible. I don't know who owns the gun, but if it belongs to someone else, like a parent or some other relative, then the relative should charged with the same crime. Gun owners need to held more responsible for the disposition of their guns. People are careless because the laws don't hold them sufficiently accountable. There's just not enough of a deterrent to make them more cognizant and self-aware of reckless actions.

    January 30, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. Donna

    As usual, going to a school full of captives to spew his far left hate speech. And this time a public high school. Were the parents of these minors consulted and can people opt out of going to this campaign speech? How come Obama can never come speak to the 60% that think he is doing a horrendous job as President and take some constructive feedback on his miserbale performance in office? Just not man enough I guess.

    January 30, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. Silence DoGood

    The NRA alternative "more good guys with guns" isn't working. That's what we have now. Time to try some (not all) gun control. Compromise is not a GOP core value but it might work. Other civilized countries have demonstrated some success. Maybe we can join them.

    January 30, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. just asking

    “I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” he said.
    -–

    so obama intends to trample on the second amendment rights of law abiding american citizens. this type of disregard for our constitutional rights is why this country most vote out all democrats. the constitution means nothing to them. obama has proved that over and over.

    January 30, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    "I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” he said.
    ----------------------------------
    These incidents of gun violence are bad for business. While gun manufacturers may benefit from the "good guy with a gun" rhetoric and all of the recent "Stand Your Ground" laws, I think that in the end, that it will only serve to discourage people from going to places with large crowds. Who wants to be caught up in the crossfire of a circular firing squad? Not me.

    January 30, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. smith

    Where are the parents? Parents need to start teaching their kids about right and wrong and paying attention to the role models their kids look up to. The shooter`s parents should be held accountable.

    January 30, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. smith

    @Silence- You do realize gun related deaths have been on the decline since the early 90`s. There was more gun violence when the US had an assault weapons ban than now. Learn the facts.

    January 30, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. Silence DoGood

    @just asking
    “I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook,” he said.
    -–
    so obama intends to trample on the second amendment rights of law abiding american citizens. this type of disregard for our constitutional rights is why this country most vote out all democrats. the constitution means nothing to them. obama has proved that over and over.
    ----–
    But I am sure you were fine with W Bush issuing executive orders funneling federal money to "faith-based" Christian organizations in violation of the federal government and endorsing one religion over another.

    January 30, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  9. TheObserver

    Stop expecting politicians to legislate with reason, practicality, and purpose. Those days ended a long time ago. Both parties are just in office to make money FROM the same people, FOR the same people.

    January 30, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Donna wrote:

    As usual, going to a school full of captives to spew his far left hate speech. And this time a public high school. Were the parents of these minors consulted and can people opt out of going to this campaign speech? How come Obama can never come speak to the 60% that think he is doing a horrendous job as President ... ... ...
    ---------------------------
    Why doesn't Obama go? You've indirectly answered your question. Who would show up? Know anyone who'd extend an invite?

    January 30, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    smith

    @Silence- You do realize gun related deaths have been on the decline since the early 90`s. There was more gun violence when the US had an assault weapons ban than now. Learn the facts.
    ------------------------
    The actual facts show that gun deaths are not only on the rise, but that deaths rates are rising at an increasing rate.

    2011 91,940 people
    2010 31,328 people
    2009 31,177 people
    2007 31,224 people
    2004 29,569 people

    January 30, 2014 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    OOPS

    2011 31,940 people

    January 30, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Silence DoGood

    @smith
    @Silence- You do realize gun related deaths have been on the decline since the early 90`s. There was more gun violence when the US had an assault weapons ban than now. Learn the facts.
    ---------
    And certainly you realize that gun ownership is down too right? Do less guns mean less deaths? This is not conclusive I will admit, but your half-fact is not conclusive either. Gun deaths AND gun ownership is down. You have probably stopped reading but I will give it a shot. To see if there is a relationship, you would have to do an experiment like Australia did enacting sweeping gun laws and then seeing dramatic reduction in gun deaths. America should do the experiment with moderate gun control and see what happens. And you might want to research what the obligations of being a part of a well regulated militia are.

    January 30, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |