Barack Obama talks tough to Press Corps cameras about “gun violence” when the mood strikes him (which it never seems to do when the perpetrators and victims are black) and cries crocodile tears about how “something needs to change.”

But when push comes to shove and his administration actually has the opportunity to put bad guys in jail, the Obama Department of Justice refuses to do their jobs:

The administration has overseen a striking drop in prosecutions of gun crimes, winning only about 6,000 convictions in 2015 — down more than 15 percent from five years ago, and giving added weight to claims by gun rights groups that President Obama has failed to enforce the laws already on the books.

As a series of high-profile mass shootings has drawn attention to the issue, Mr. Obama has pushed for ever-stricter gun laws prohibiting sales of some firearms and paraphernalia, and more controls on whom they can be sold to.

But the push comes as his lawyers at the Justice Department are winning fewer cases using the laws already passed to ban criminals from buying or owning firearms, according to data compiled by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

The trend predates Mr. Obama, with convictions peaking at 9,206 a decade ago but dropping to 6,002 in fiscal year 2015 — a fall of more than a third.

Part of the reason is prosecutors are simply bringing fewer cases.

Of the two most common federal gun offenses — illegally selling a firearm or using one in connection with another crime — the number of cases dropped from 11,067 in 2004 to 8,078 in 2014, according to data kept by federal prosecutors. The figure ticked up in 2015, to 8,528, hinting that a rise in convictions could also be on the horizon.

Obama and his allies have all the tools they need in the form of laws to crush criminal gun trafficking, but they refuse to do so.

If someone were cynical, they might draw the conclusion that Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other anti-gun Democrats are cynically hoping that they can use the carefully-fabricated illusion of a “gun violence epidemic” in order to create calls for more gun laws.

Unfortunately for Obama, his Administration’s failure to prosecute hasn’t led to more crimes as they might have hoped.

Instead, per-capita gun violence is at the lowest level ever recorded in American history, and continues to drop.