President Joe Biden is fully committed to further regulations on guns, but Congress needs to act, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at her Monday briefing.
The shooting Saturday at an outlet mall in Allen, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, was the 201st mass shooting in the U.S. this year, and 14,000 people have died from gun violence in the nation so far in 2023, she said in opening the briefing. She later added that one person losing their life is too many.
“This is a crisis,” Jean-Pierre said. “It is a crisis that Republicans in Congress are refusing to address. We are talking about the number 1 killer of kids in America, and Republicans in Congress are saying there is nothing that we can do about it.”
Schools, churches, shopping centers, supermarkets, movie theaters, and other venues of everyday life “are coming under attack from weapons of war that have no place, no place on our streets,” she continued.
In response to the Allen mall shooting, in which eight people plus the gunman were killed and at least seven wounded, Biden once again called on Congress to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Congress approved such a ban in 1994, but it expired 10 years later and has not been renewed. The gunman in Texas, who was said to have ties to far-right groups, used an assault weapon.
Biden also wants to end gun manufacturers’ immunity from liability, require safe storage of weapons, and establish universal background checks for gun purchases, Jean-Pierre said. “It’s just common sense,” she said. It’s what a majority of Americans want too, she added.
One reporter said that Biden has made his positions clear on gun control but asked how engaged he is on the issue. Jean-Pierre responded that Biden has signed more than two dozen executive actions on the matter, more than any other president. “He has said gun violence is an epidemic,” she said, and he has worked on the issue as a senator, as vice president, and as president.
“He has done everything that he can, using the tools that are in front of him,” she said, adding, “The president has done the work. He’s asking Congress to do their jobs.”
There needs to be legislation on top of the bill Biden signed into law last year, she said. That measure, among other things, strengthened background checks on people aged 18 to 21 and added dating partners to the category of domestic abusers barred from buying guns.
Another journalist asked why Biden isn’t traveling the country to talk about gun violence and pressing members of Congress to pass legislation. Jean-Pierre said, “He’s using his bully pulpit, He’s been very clear.” He’s talked about it in his State of the Union address and many other times, she said. But Congress needs to pass legislation. “They have to act,” she said.
05/08/23: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierrewww.youtube.com