Updated with video: In an exclusive interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell at the White House this afternoon, President Obama decried today’s shooting in San Bernardino that has left at least 14 dead with up to three gunmen still at large, saying, “The one thing we do know is that we have pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world.”
“We don’t know that much yet; it’s still an active situation,” a subdued Obama said of the country’s latest mass murder as authorities in southern California continue to look for up to three gunmen who fled the scene. “It does appear there are going to be some casualties and obviously our hearts go out to victims and the families.”
O’Donnell was at the White House, getting ready to interview Obama about his trip to Paris and participation in a international summit on climate change, when the president received word of the shooting. CBS News landed the first comments from the president about the shooting: Obama’s seventh such opportunity to comment after a mass shooting has occurred in this country in just the last five months.
Obama again lobbied for changes to gun laws. “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, common sense gun safety laws, stronger background checks,” he told O’Donnell.
“For those who are concerned about terrorism of, you know, some may be aware of the fact that we have a no fly list where people can’t get on planes but those same people who we don’t allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm and there’s nothing that we can do to stop them.”
“My hope is that we’re able to contain this particular shooting and, and we don’t yet know what the motives of the shooters are, but what we do know is, is that there are steps we can take to make Americans safer and that we should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these rare as opposed to normal. We should never think that this is something that just happens in the ordinary course of events.”
Yesterday, CBS News announced morning show co-host O’Donnell had landed an interview with Obama on climate change and his trip to Paris. Back then, the plan was to broadcast the interview during CBS This Morning tomorrow morning, with an excerpt to air on tonight’s CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley. O’Donnell’s interview with the President was intended to be part of CBS News’ ongoing coverage of climate change concerns as the world’s largest gathering of leaders in Paris try to draft an agreement.