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Obama Calls For Gun Control Measures After San Bernardino, Calif., Shooting

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

And joining us now is national political correspondent Mara Liasson, who was at the White House today when President Obama was briefed about the shooting. And Mara, the president usually has something to say after these events. What was his reaction today?

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: He usually does have something to say, but today, instead of coming into the briefing room at the White House as he often does, he made his comments in a previously scheduled interview. He had one scheduled with CBS. He expressed his sympathies to the victims, of course, and said that we have a pattern of mass shootings in this country that doesn't happen with the same frequency in other countries. This is something he's said before, but it takes on greater weight as these events become more and more frequent. And here's what the president had to say in the interview he did with Norah O'Donnell of CBS.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BARACK OBAMA: 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, and 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.

MCEVERS: And in the past, the president has used the shock of a mass shooting as a kind of political leverage to call for more gun safety measures. Do you see that happening now?

LIASSON: Well, he is calling for more gun safety measures. He's done this more than a dozen times after the shootings in Newtown and Tucson and Charleston and Fort Hood in Colorado Springs. I mean, it hasn't worked, but he is calling again for gun control measures like stronger background checks he pointed out today in that CBS interview. He said for those who are concerned about terrorism, there are people on the no-fly list that can't get on a plane, but they can walk into a store in the United States and buy a gun perfectly legally. He said that's a law that needs to be changed, and he called on lawmakers to come together at every level of government to take steps to make these events as rare as possible.

MCEVERS: That's national political correspondent Mara Liasson. Thank you so much.

LIASSON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Mara Liasson is a national political correspondent for NPR. Her reports can be heard regularly on NPR's award-winning newsmagazine programs Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC — focusing on the White House and Congress — and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.

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