White House spokesperson: ‘We should not be saying there’s nothing else to do’ on guns

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
Greg Nash
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is seen as National Security Council spokesman John Kirby answers questions during the daily briefing at the White House on Monday, March 20, 2023.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday called on Republicans to show political “courage” and act on gun violence following the deadly school shooting in Nashville the previous day.

“When you hear elected officials say it’s another talking point when the president is saying that we need to do more — that’s actually devastating to hear … because that’s what you’re also saying to those families who lost loved ones, to those parents who lost three 9-year-olds,” Jean-Pierre said on CNN. 

“They lost their kids yesterday and that’s what we’re saying? We should not be saying there’s nothing else to do. We should be trying to figure out what else … there can be to do,” she added.

The shooting took place at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, with a 28-year-old suspect opening fire and killing three children — all 9 years old — and three adults before being fatally shot by police.

The suspect, identified as Audrey Hale, moved through the school armed with three guns, two of which were assault-type weapons. Hale identified as transgender and was killed by two officers on the scene.

Jean-Pierre told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that Republicans will have to answer to parents who have lost loved ones in mass shootings.

“What are you going to say to those parents?” she said.

“We need Republicans in Congress to show some courage,” Jean-Pierre added. “This is what they owe these parents, this is what they owe these family members who are losing their loved ones. They need to show courage. We need gun safety laws, comprehensive gun safety laws. We need to ban assault rifles. Those weapons of war do not belong on our streets, do not belong in schools.”

The GOP-led House Judiciary Committee earlier postponed a scheduled markup of a resolution to nullify a federal pistol brace rule following the Tennessee shooting, with Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) telling The Hill on Monday evening that “Democrats were going to turn this tragic event into a political thing.”

President Biden renewed his call for an assault weapon ban on Monday after the shooting. The White House has argued the president has taken steps to act on gun safety and now it’s up to Congress to move on a ban.

“Our messaging here is very clear, it’s enough, enough, enough,” Jean-Pierre told MSNBC. “We have had a president who has acted on this.”

“This president has taken more executive actions on gun violence safety than any president before him and he has done that in two years,” she added.

Earlier this month, Biden signed an executive order that aims to increase the number of background checks conducted before gun sales. The order builds on the bipartisan gun legislation that Biden signed into law in June, which was the most comprehensive gun safety bill Congress passed in decades.

Biden frequently calls for Congress to pass an assault weapons and high-capacity magazine ban. With the Republican majority in the House, such legislation would be an uphill battle.

Tags background checks Covenant School Gun control Joe Biden Karine Jean-Pierre Karine Jean-Pierre Nashville shooting

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