One month after the horrifying Sandy Hook shooting, a new bill was introduced in Congress to ban military-style assault weapons like the one wielded in the shooting. In April 2013, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 was defeated in the Republican-majority Senate, enraging Obama.
“You had parents that had just lost their children sitting in front of senators asking for very modest, reasonable approaches,” Obama told Winfrey. “This wasn’t some radical agenda. They were asking for more effective background checks and other provisions to keep firearms out of the hands of disturbed folks. And it was all viewed as politics, as opposed to this human moment we should have been able to respond to as a society.”
As gun violence continues to scythe through American life, with Everytown reporting that more than 100 Americans are killed with guns every day, Obama feels that the road to a healthier gun culture remains long and daunting.
“I have to say, gun violence is one of those issues that I think we’re far away from the ‘promised land’ on,” Obama said. “It’s become such a cultural hot button issue. It’s become wrapped up with people’s sense of identity and the degree to which the country’s divided. It’s gotten very polarized. Unwinding that polarization around that issue is going to take some time.”
– Adrienne Westenfeld in The Biggest Revelations From Barack Obama’s Explosive New Memoir