Failure to pass what he called “common-sense gun-safety laws” during his tenure in the White House has ranked among his greatest frustrations, Barack Obama has told the BBC, in a wide-ranging interview covering much of the last years of his presidency.
Obama said he felt he had made strides in many political arenas but that it was “distressing” not to have affected significant change in gun laws “even in the face of repeated mass killings.”
With less than two years left in power, Obama said guns were the policy area that made him feel “most frustrated and most stymied. “If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100,” he said. “If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands.”
During a turbulent summer that saw nine African Americans killed at a South Carolina prayer meeting in June, Obama told reporters that “politics in [Washington]” precluded most options for change in gun control policy.
The BBC interview was conducted previous to the July 23 shooting at a movie theater in Louisiana and did not touch on that event.