HARI SREENIVASAN: Last night on the “NewsHour,” President Obama joined Gwen Ifill for a wide-ranging interview and town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana.
After the broadcast, the president continued to take questions from the audience.
Gun shop owner Doug Rhude challenged the president’s record on gun control.
DOUG RHUDE, Gun Shop Owner: Knowing that we apply common sense to other issues in our society, specifically like holding irresponsible people accountable for their actions when they drink and drive and kill somebody, and we do that without restricting control of cars and cells phones to the rest of us, the good guys, why then do you and Hillary want to control and restrict and limit gun manufacturers, gun owners and responsible use of guns and ammunition to the rest of us, the good guys, instead of holding the bad guys accountable for their actions?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: First of all, the notion that I or Hillary or Democrats or whoever you want to choose are hell-bent on taking away folks’ guns is just not true.
And I don’t care how many times the NRA says it. I’m about to leave office. There have been more guns sold since I have been president than just about any time in U.S. history. There are enough guns for every man, woman and child in this country.
And at no point have I ever, ever proposed confiscating guns from responsible gun owners. So it’s just not true.
What I have said is precisely what you suggested, which is, why don’t we treat this like every other thing that we use? I just came from a meeting today in the Situation Room in which I got people who we know have been on ISIL Web sites, living here in the United States, U.S. citizens, and we’re allowed to put them on the no-fly list when it comes to airlines, but because of the National Rifle Association, I cannot prohibit those people from buying a gun.
This is somebody who is a known ISIL sympathizer. And if he wants to walk in to a gun store or a gun show right now and buy as much — as many weapons and ammo as he can, nothing’s prohibiting him from doing that, even though the FBI knows who that person is.
So, sir, I just have to say, respectfully, that there is a way for us to have commonsense gun laws. There is a way for us to make sure that lawful, responsible gun owners like yourself are able to use them for sporting, hunting, protecting yourself, but the only way we’re going to do that is if we don’t have a situation in which anything that is proposed is viewed as some tyrannical destruction of the Second Amendment. And that’s how the issue too often gets framed.
HARI SREENIVASAN: You can watch the entire town hall with the president, plus more video excerpts, on our Web site at PBS.org/NewsHour.