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After Hail of Bullets

Obama Offers a Familiar Lament

WASHINGTON--The tableau at the White House was chillingly familiar: The somber president, nearing the end of his eight-year term, walked grim-faced to the podium to offer his condolences, promised action in the wake of suffering and pleaded for a new resolve that just might prevent more deaths in a hail of bullets.

The list of tragedies on President Barack Obama’s watch seems countless by now. An elementary classroom. A church. A military base. A movie theater. And now, a gay nightclub. Mr. Obama said Sunday’s massacre, by a gunman with a handgun and an assault weapon, is another brutal reminder of how easy it is for someone to slaughter dozens.

“We have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be,” Mr. Obama said on Sunday as he mourned the nation’s deadliest mass shooting. “And to actively do nothing is a decision, as well.”

Mr. Obama vowed to respond forcefully to what he called a

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