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Obama Again Calls For Stronger Gun Measures After San Bernardino Shooting


After this latest mass shooting, President Obama once again finds himself in the position of decrying this type of gun violence and not being able to do much about it. NPR's national political correspondent, Mara Liasson, reports.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: President Obama was briefed about the San Bernardino shooting shortly after it began. Instead of coming to the briefing room as he often does after horrific events like this one, he used a previously scheduled interview with CBS News to express his sympathies for the victims and, once again, to call for stronger gun control measures.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world. And there's some steps we could take, not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don't happen as frequently.

LIASSON: More than a dozen times, the president has pushed for stronger gun safety laws to no avail. He's been frustrated at his inability to move the Congress after the shootings in Newtown or Tucson or Charleston or Fort Hood or Colorado Springs. Yesterday, he said Congress should pass commonsense gun safety measures, including stricter background checks.


OBAMA: For those who are concerned about terrorism of - you know, some may be aware of the fact that we have a no-fly list, where people can't get on planes. But those same people who we don't allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm. And there's nothing that we can do to stop them.

LIASSON: That's a law that should be changed, the president said. And there are other steps lawmakers should take to prevent gun violence.


OBAMA: We should come together, in a bipartisan basis, at every level of government to - to, you know, make these rare as opposed to normal.

LIASSON: The president is looking at what he could do using executive orders, possibly requiring background checks on gun sales by high-volume gun dealers. But most new gun safety measures would require legislative action. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said he would be introducing a gun-control measure as an amendment to a Republican bill to repeal Obamacare. But that's just a political gesture. In the House, Speaker Paul Ryan called for a moment of silence but no legislation. On the campaign trail, the Republican candidates tweeted their sympathies with the victims. The Democratic candidates called for more gun laws. There were no signs that the political stalemate over gun violence would be broken by this latest tragedy. Mara Liasson, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.