Nightly News   |  September 22, 2013

Navy Yard tragedy rekindles gun debate

The nation’s most recent mass shooting re-ignited the gun violence debate. Some states have passed new gun laws, while others have loosened restrictions. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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>>> ad memorial service this afternoon for the 12 people killed by a gunman at the washington navy yard where he renewed his call on congress to pass stricter gun laws . nbc's kristin welker is at the white house with the latest on all this.

>> reporter: good evening. during that emotional memorial service , president obama said it is up to the american people to bring about change on the issue of guns in washington. but on capitol hill , that doesn't seem to be the priority right now. the familiar sights and sounds of a communicate ripped apart by gun violence . what has become a painful national ritual.

>> as president, i am now grieved with five american communities gripped apart by mass violence. ft. hood, tucson, aurora, sandy hook , and now the washington navy yard .

>> reporter: today president obama once again offered words of support. this time to families devastated by last week's navy yard shooting which claimed 12 lives.

>> once more, our hearts are broken. once more we ask why.

>> reporter: the president again called for change.

>> sometimes i fear there is a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is. that this is somehow the new normal. we can't accept this.

>> reporter: he also acknowledged the politics are an obstacle. he indicated the nation needs better security, not new laws.

>> the problem is there weren't enough good guys with guns. when the good guys with guns got there, it stopped.

>> reporter: and he says the nation's mental health system is in complete breakdown.

>> if we leave these homicidal maniacs on the street, they don't obey the law, they could care less about it. they're going to kill.

>> reporter: senator joe manchin acknowledged lawmaker don't have the appetite to revive the gun debate right now.

>> i'm not going out there to beat the drum for the sake of beating the drum.

>> reporter: but her daughter was killed in aurora.

>> we need to and fanned background checks so this doesn't continue to happen.

>> reporter: gun control advocates say they are bolstered by polls that show american support it. meanwhile president obama said he had called for a review of security measures at military facilities. lester?