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Obama Urges Public to Become 'Single Issue' Voters on Gun Control Reform

by Halimah Abdullah /  / Updated 

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For the second time since a deadly shooting rampage that left 10 people dead at an Oregon community college, President Barack Obama on Friday expressed frustration that politics has gotten in the way of meaningful gun control reform.

"As I said last night, this will not change until the politics change and the behavior of elected officials changes,” Obama said. “I will talk about this on a regular basis and I will politicize this.

His irritation over the stymied status of federal gun control reform was palpable as he addressed reporters during a wide-ranging press conference.

Friday’s comments echoed a refrain he’s sounded before as he’s denounced an American culture that makes it "easy for a person who wants to commit harm on someone else to get their hands on a gun."

Related: 'We Become Numb': Frustrated Obama Says American Gun Culture 'Doesn't Make Sense'

And he placed the blame for the ease of obtaining weapons squarely with Congress.

“The reason Congress does not support the modest gun safety laws we proposed after Sandy Hook is not because the majority of Americans don’t support it,” Obama said adding it’s “because interest groups fund campaigns (and) feed people’s fear."

A gunman killed nine people and wounded nine others when he opened fire at Umpqua Community College in the small community of Roseburg Thursday. The shooter was later killed after an exchange of fire with police.

The president urged Americans to become "single issue voters" and cast ballots based on the gun control issue — even if it means voting against politicians who they normally support. He went singled out the National Rifle Association as particularly effective in using this tactic to influence lawmakers.

"Unless we change that dynamic we can’t make a dent," Obama said.

The president sounded similar notes after similar tragedies in such places as Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut — each time urging congressional action.

And each time, legislative action fell short.

Related: With Washington Stymied, It's Up to the States to Pass Gun Reform

In 2013, despite widespread public support, Senate Republicans, along with some Democrats hailing from rural states, sidelined the administration's efforts at sweeping gun control legislation. In a series of votes, the lawmakers rejected an assault weapons ban and high-capacity ammunition magazines as well as bipartisan background check legislation.

Instead, in the years following the 2012 shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the fight over gun policy has increasingly moved to the state level where a spate of legislation has been debated in statehouses.

The president said that, in the meantime, he's asked his team to revisit what kinds of authorities the administration has in place. The president has acknowledged that widespread change is difficult on the federal level because the political will just isn't there.

But that won't stop him from publicizing the issue.

"The main thing I'm going to do is, I'm going to talk about this on a regular basis," Obama said.

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