Obama Brings the Conversation Back to Guns

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

During a recorded interview at the White House today, the president described his reaction to the fatal shooting of two TV journalists in Virginia. “It breaks my heart every time you read or hear about these kinds of incidents," he told Monica Malpass, an anchor for an ABC affiliate in Philadelphia.

Such shooters, Obama suggested, are a greater threat to homeland security than terrorists are: “What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism.”

Last month, Obama told the BBC that gun control “has been the one area where I feel that I've been most frustrated and most stymied. “The United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense, gun-safety laws,” he said. “Even in the face of repeated mass killings.”

The president’s spokesman reiterated that sentiment during his daily press briefing today. “This is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities large and small all across the United States," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. "And while there is no piece of legislation that will end all violence in this country, there are some common sense things that only Congress can do that we know would have a tangible impact in reducing gun violence in this country.”