Obama decries US mass shootings, says 'no parallel anywhere else in world'

December 3, 2015, 4:25pm

Law enforcement officers search for the suspects of a mass shooting December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. A man and a woman suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting at a centre for the disabled were killed in a shootout with police, while a third person was detained, police said. AFP PHOTO | PATRICK T. FALLON  

AFP on Daily Nation

President Barack Obama decried the latest in a "pattern" of mass shootings in the United States after another deadly incident in California on Wednesday, reiterating his call for Congress to pass tougher gun controls.

"The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world," Obama told CBS News.

"There are 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."

Obama has repeatedly called on lawmakers to introduce universal background checks for gun buyers and to introduce a ban on assault weapons, measures Republicans who control Congress have staunchly opposed.

Throughout his presidency Obama has appeared increasingly frustrated and powerless as gun attack after gun attack has resulted in no legislative action.

The White House has flirted with changing the laws by executive order, but experts believe such measures would be difficult to implement and may go beyond Obama's legal powers.

Instead, Obama has resorted to using the bully pulpit.

Around a dozen times he has appeared in the James Brady press briefing room of the White House — named after the press secretary left disabled as a result of the attempted assassination of president Ronald Reagan — to urge strong gun controls. < After a recent shooting in Oregon he expressed anger and frustration that such attacks, such presidential statements, and the ensuing political debate had become routine.

"Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out, 'We need more guns,' they'll argue. 'Fewer gun-safety laws,'" he said.

"Does anybody really believe that?" he asked disbelievingly.