The White House says President Barack Obama would have vetoed a gun bill passed by the Senate that would have allowed guns in bars, nightclubs and gun shows, if he had been president today.
Obama says he is not in the habit of criticizing his colleagues, but that he believes Congress has the right to pass laws they think are necessary and constitutional, and that the country should be a place where everyone has the freedom to express themselves.
Democrats who sponsored the bill voted against it, and the Senate was split along party lines.
“When it comes to guns, I believe we should have the same right to own guns as everybody else, and I believe that’s what this bill does,” Obama said.
He also said he supports allowing people with mental illness to buy guns.
While Obama did not specifically say he would veto the bill, he said he would not sign it if it had passed.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement that the president was “deeply concerned” by a recent attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando.
But Carney said the administration has worked with lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation that would make it easier for people with severe mental illness, including those with HIV and substance abuse disorders, to purchase guns.
The House passed the bill with a bipartisan margin last month, with more than 70 Democrats in support and just 10 Republicans against.
In a separate statement, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that Democrats and Republicans have “worked together to get a gun control bill through Congress and that it is the president’s desire to be able to buy a gun.”
Obama also said the president supports a universal background check law, as well as a federal law that requires background checks for all gun sales.