Which isn’t to say that we should lean back and relax; only that, like any politician, he has a limited amount of political capital, and there are much more important things that he wants to spend it on. Gun control is an easy thing for him to speak in favor of and then quietly compromise on.
The worst thing that has actually come to pass, initiated by President Obama, has been his appointment of Andrew Traver as BATFE head. And I’m trying to find out if he actually did it as a recess appointment, instead of submitting him for “advice and consent”. There’s a bunch of FUD on the topic in the ‘tubes. It appears he’s going to get submitted for approval by the lame duck session, but that’s not (quite) the same thing as a recess appointment – remember that this is the same Senate that came within a single vote of getting national CCW reciprocity onto a “must-pass” bill, and did pass National Parks Carry. If the president waited a few weeks, he could have gotten his recess appointment and for a year we’d have been stuck with this guy with no Senate input. His appointment of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan certainly didn't help matters, but they didn’t really harm things at the SCOTUS either. Long-term, it depends on who is president when othe rjustices require, an act of fortune-telling I don’t feel like performing.
On the other hand, we did get National Park Carry, and several “administrative” efforts regarded as anti-gun etc, such as the reclassification of one-handed knives to switchblades and the decision to shred used military brass were publically and rapidly rescinded when they became known. Perhaps this is due to the intensive scrutiny his administration is getting. Perhaps he just doesn’t care. More likely, he’s got more important things to do. Symbols are easy – and to be honest, the appointment of a Traver to BATFE head is a symbol; the culture at the BATFE is so ingrained you could appoint Wayne LaPierre to head the BATFE and it wouldn’t make an immediate difference. (Note to CSPAN – I would pay cash money to see that Senate confirmation debate.) Not that it couldn’t mean change, just that Traver is not going to change the direction of an agency that already has demonstrated its institutional hostility towards firearms enthusiasts.