Valerie Jarrett at DC rally: ‘Intimidated’ lawmakers should stand up to the NRA

Valerie Jarrett, the former senior adviser to former President Obama, said Saturday that lawmakers should stand up to the National Rifle Association (NRA) and address gun violence.

Jarrett, speaking to CNN in an interview on the ground in Washington as thousands of protesters were expected to rally against gun violence, said lawmakers should take cues from high school students pushing for gun controls.

“What we see here is young people saying, ‘We’re not asking for permission, we’re not intimidated by the NRA. We are empowered to ensure that we change our country.’ And they’re doing that,” she said. 

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Jarrett made the comments amid the "March for Our Lives" rally in Washington, D.C., and cities across the country pushing for action to curb gun violence.

“No one should be able to buy a weapon of mass destruction like they can now on the internet without going through a background check,” Jarrett said.

Jarrett said that elected officials at the federal and state levels are going to have to take action as the push for gun control escalates.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE announced Friday that the Department of Justice will issue a rule banning bump stocks, a device that makes semi-automatic rifles fire more rapidly.

Trump blamed Obama for the legalization of bump stocks. In 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the devices could not be regulated because they didn't meet the definition of a machine gun.

Asked to respond to Trump’s attack on Obama, Jarrett touted the Obama administration's efforts to get Congress to pass “sensible background checks” and to close loopholes.

Jarrett also praised students affected by the Parkland, Fla., shooting last month for advocating against gun violence in less affluent communities.

“They have unified and built a big tent, an inclusive tent,” Jarrett said.