Addressing a question about gun violence from a UC Santa Barbara student Tuesday, just days after a mass shooting on the California campus and hours after another shooting at a high school in Oregon, President Obama called the lack of legislative action on a background check for gun purchases “the biggest frustration” of his presidency.
“I don’t know if anybody saw the brief press conference from the father of the young man who had been killed at Santa Barbara — and as a father myself I just — I couldn’t understand the pain he must be going through and just the primal scream that he gave out. Why aren’t we doing something about this?” Obama said. “And I will tell you that, I have been in Washington for a while now and most things don’t surprise me. The fact that 20 6-year-olds were gunned down in the most violent fashion possible and this town couldn’t do anything about it was stunning to me.”
After a pitched legislative battle where the president inserted himself directly into the lobbying process to pass a gun-control bill failed following the 2012 Newtown, Conn., shooting that left more than 20 elementary students dead, Obama tore intoCongress, blaming them for what he called “a pretty shameful day in Washington.”
More than a year later, speaking in a Q&A with Tumblr users at the White House, Obama made it clear the focus of his frustration has shifted from Congress to the electorate.
“If public opinion does not demand change in Congress, it will not change,” Obama said. “I’ve initiated over 20 executive actions to try to tighten up some of the rules and the laws, but the bottom line is, is that we don’t have enough tools right now to really make as big of a dent as we need to.”