Holder: Gun control among biggest failures

Outgoing Attorney Gen. Eric HolderEric H. HolderMothers of the Movement: Hillary ‘isn’t afraid to say Black Lives Matter’ The Trail 2016: One large crack in the glass ceiling Airbnb race controversy hits Dem convention MORE on Monday listed the Obama administration’s inability to enact more stringent gun control regulations as among the biggest failures of his tenure, saying the matter “weighs heavily” on his mind. 

“I think the inability to pass reasonable gun safety laws after the Newtown massacre is something that weighs heavily on my mind,” Holder said during an interview aired on CNN.

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Long-sought measures requiring background checks for all commercial gun sales and banning assault weapons and large capacity ammunition appeared to have traction following the December 2012 elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. 

A re-elected President Obama announced their passage as a top second-term priority, and congressional Democrats rallied behind a flurry of gun control bills. 

All failed, with the most crushing defeat coming in April of last year, when a bipartisan amendment mandating universal background checks fell six votes short of passage in a Senate controlled by Democrats. 

In lieu of congressional action, Obama announced nearly two-dozen executive actions aimed at tamping down on gun violence, addressing mental health issues and keeping guns out of the wrong hands. 

Holder’s Justice Department spearheaded the implementation of many measures, and the White House has since claimed progress on each of the items. But Holder, citing polls showing that the vast majority of Americans support the legislation that was beat back, lamented the loss for proponents of stronger restrictions. 

“And the thought that we could not translate that horror into reasonable — I mean, really reasonable gun safety measures that were supported by the vast majority of the American people is for me something that I take personally as a failure,” he said, “and something that I think we as a society should take as a failure, a glaring failure, that I hope will ultimately be rectified.”