The White House on Monday all but ruled out the possibility that President Barack Obama would make a push for new gun control laws in the aftermath of the shooting rampage in Oak Creek, Wis. Press secretary Jay Carney noted that Obama had called for better enforcement of existing laws in the wake of the massacre at an Aurora, Colo., movie theater last month.
"I have nothing new to announce," Carney said at his daily briefing.
His comments came as police identified the man suspected of killing six people at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek as Wade Michael Page, a 40-year-old former member of the U.S. Army. The six victims identified by police—five men and one woman—ranged in age from 39 to 84. The suspect died in a shootout with police.
"Incidents like this are horrific, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families and to the Sikh community in Wisconsin," said Carney. "But we cannot lose sight of the fact that there is violence all the time in America and that we need to take concerted action to deal with it."
The president "will continue to instruct his administration to take action towards common-sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens but make it harder and harder for those who should not have weapons under existing law to obtain them," said Carney.
The press secretary repeatedly underscored support from Obama—who drew raised eyebrows and made headlines in the 2008 election cycle for saying that Americans "bitter" about job losses "cling" to guns or religion—for Americans' Second Amendment rights.
Carney underlined "reluctance" from Congress to push ahead with new gun control measures but declined to say whether Obama would, as he has on other issues in the past, campaign for action.
As he had after Aurora, Carney said the president "does support renewing the assault weapons ban" and would "evaluate" any legislation calling for restrictions on high-capacity clips. But he left action to Congress on both counts.
"He believes that we have a broader issue with violence in America that needs to be addressed from a variety of angles, including efforts that this administration has undertaken to work with local communities, to try to get children out of gangs, to get kids out of gangs, to get kids back in school, working with local law enforcement in their efforts to fight crime," he said.