Jean-Pierre: ‘Unacceptable’ for Republicans to say there’s nothing to be done on gun violence
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Wednesday called it “shameful” and “unacceptable” for some Republican lawmakers to say Congress has done as much as it can to address gun violence in the wake of a mass shooting at a Tennessee private school.
“That’s unacceptable. That’s our response,” Jean-Pierre said at a briefing with reporters. “It’s unacceptable that Republicans are saying there’s nothing we can do. Our schools, our churches, our places of worship have now become deadly places for many Americans who have lost their lives just this past year.”
Jean-Pierre questioned if Republicans would tell the families of victims in mass shootings in recent months in Nashville, Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, if there was nothing Congress could do, and she called on GOP lawmakers to “show some courage.”
“If they had courage, they would be introducing legislation banning assault weapons today. That’s what they would be doing today,” Jean-Pierre said. “They refuse to move forward, and yet guns, as we know, is the leading cause that is killing our kids.”
“And they refuse to show some courage and do anything about it. And that’s shameful,” she added.
The White House has expressed exasperation in the wake of Monday’s shooting at a private Christian school in Nashville, Tenn., that left three children, all age 9, dead. President Biden has reiterated his calls for Congress to enact an assault weapons ban, though he has acknowledged that he has likely reached the limits of what he can do through executive action to try and curb gun violence.
Jean-Pierre’s comments came after multiple Republican lawmakers suggested there was nothing left for Congress to do to prevent future mass shootings like the one in Nashville.
“There isn’t anybody here that, if they could find the right approach, wouldn’t try to do something because they feel that pain,” Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) said Wednesday on CNN. “And yet, when we start talking about bans or challenging on the Second Amendment, I think the things that have already been done have gone about as far as we’re going to with gun control.”
Rounds said Congress could re-allocate funding for states to help increase security at schools.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) on Tuesday called the Nashville shooting a “horrible situation,” but added that “we’re not going to fix it.”
“Criminals are going to be criminals,” Burchett said.
Asked what role Congress can play, Burchett said he doesn’t see what lawmakers can do that wouldn’t “mess things up.”
“I don’t think you’re going to stop the gun violence. I think we’ve got to change people’s hearts,” he said.
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.