Obama to hold public meeting on gun control

Assault rifles for sale at a gun shop in Roseburg, Oregon (AFP Photo/Cengiz Yar, Jr.) (AFP)

Washington (AFP) - President Barack Obama will take part Thursday in a town hall-style meeting to discuss new efforts to stem what he has called an epidemic of gun violence across America.

Obama, who recently singled out gun violence as one of the most urgent pieces of "unfinished business" facing him, will take questions from the audience during the event, to be aired on CNN at 8 p.m. (2300 GMT).

The program is to be held at George Mason University in Fairfax, in northern Virginia.

The president has frequently expressed frustration at Congress's failure to pass tougher gun-control measures, even after some of the worst mass shootings in the nation's history.

Beginning his final year in office, he is set to meet Monday with Attorney General Loretta Lynch to discuss possible new actions he can take.

According to CNN and The New York Times, Obama is expected to announce executive action to expand background checks on gun sales before his State of the Union address on January 12.

Guns claim more than 30,000 lives in America each year, over half of them suicides.