Obama says his biggest frustration is failure to pass gun safety laws

US President Barack Obama has admitted that his failure to pass "common sense gun safety laws" in the United States is the greatest frustration of his two terms in office.
US President Barack Obama has admitted that his failure to pass "common sense gun safety laws" in the United States is the greatest frustration of his two terms in office. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama has admitted that his failure to pass "common sense gun safety laws" in the United States is the greatest frustration of his two terms in office.

"If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9-11 by terrorism, it's less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it's in the tens of thousands," Obama told BBC in an interview.

His comments came after several incidents of gun violence made national headlines recently. These included a shooting at a Marine and Navy reserve in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that left five military members dead, and a shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, where nine people were killed.

 

Despite experiencing roadblocks in Congress, Obama said that he will not stop pursuing gun control regulations during the last months of his presidency.

"For us not to be able to resolve that issue has been something that is distressing, but it is not something that I intend to stop working on in the remaining 18 months," Obama said.

 

On race relations, the US president said recent concerns around policing and mass incarcerations were "legitimate and deserve intense attention", but he insisted that progress had been made.

 

Children growing up during the eight years of his presidency "will have a different view of race relations in this country and what's possible," he said.

"There are going to be tensions that arise. But if you look at my daughters' generation, they have an attitude about race that's entirely different than even my generation."

In the wide-ranging interview , Obama also said Britain must remain in the European Union to maintain its global influence.

Its EU membership "gives us much greater confidence about the strength of the transatlantic union," he said, adding that the EU had "made the world safer and more prosperous."

British Prime Minister David Cameron, seeking to end a decades-old rift within his Conservative Party over Britain's place in Europe, has promised to negotiate a new settlement with Brussels and hold a referendum on EU membership by the end of 2017.