During yesterday's Tumblr Q&A at the White House, the President answered a question on the epidemic of gun violence in America.
"My biggest frustration so far," he said, "is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage." Talking about the increasing frequency of school shootings across the country, the President noted that the U.S. is the only developed country where this is routine.
"The country has to do some soul-searching about this," President Obama said. "This is becoming the norm, and we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me."
He also stressed that the only thing that is going to reverse this alarming trend is public opinion. "If public opinion does not demand change in Congress, it will not change."
Until there is a fundamental shift in public opinion in which people say, enough, this is not acceptable, this is not normal, this isn’t sort of the price we should be paying for our freedom, that we can have respect for the Second Amendment and responsible gun owners and sportsmen and hunters can have the ability to possess weapons but that we are going to put some commonsense rules in place that make a dent, at least, in what’s happening -- until that is not just the majority of you -- because that’s already the majority of you, even the majority of gun owners believe that. But until that’s a view that people feel passionately about and are willing to go after folks who don’t vote reflecting those values, until that happens, sadly, not that much is going to change.
President Obama noted that he has issued more than 20 executive actions this year to try to tighten up some of the rules in the law, but it's not possible to get even the slightest restrictions through Congress right now, "and we should be ashamed of that."