From Mary Bruce at the White House and John Parkinson and Sunlen Miller on Capitol Hill:
One day after President Obama publicly renewed his push to reduce gun violence in America, the White House made clear he has no plans to put new gun legislation on the table.
The president said Wednesday that steps to reduce gun violence “should not be controversial, they should be common sense” and vowed to “leave no stone unturned” in seeking new measures to reduce violence nationwide.
Today, the White House said the president was speaking in broad terms.
“We have to remember that in the wake of awful event like the one in Aurora, Colorado, that violence is not an isolated incident in America and that we need to take a broader look at it and try to tackle it from a number of different directions, which this president has been doing through his administration,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
The president continues to support the assault weapons ban but, given the “stalemate in Congress,” Carney explained “there are things that we [can] do, short of legislation and short of gun laws” to reduce violence across the country.
Speaking to the National Urban League in New Orleans, Obama acknowledged that more can be done to prevent criminals from purchasing weapons and restrict mentally unbalanced individuals from acquiring guns.
“I’m going to continue to work with members of both parties, and with religious groups and with civic organizations, to arrive at a consensus around violence reduction — not just of gun violence, but violence at every level, on every step, looking at everything we can do to reduce violence and keep our children safe — from improving mental health services for troubled youth to instituting more effective community policing strategies. We should leave no stone unturned, and recognize that we have no greater mission as a country than keeping our young people safe,” he said.
On Capitol Hill today, Majority Leader Harry Reid said the U.S. Senate would not take up the gun issue this year, although he agreed with Obama’s remarks in New Orleans.
“With the schedule we have we’re not going to get into a debate on gun control. I’m very happy. I’m glad the president made the statement. Cause it’s something that needs to be done,” he said.
Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner indicated he is opposed to rushing new gun control legislation to the House floor. But after Obama’s renewed push for action, Boehner pressed the president for specifics.
“AK-47s, all right, are not allowed to be in the hands of criminals. That is the law, and if the president has proposals on other ways that we can address criminals owning guns, I’ll be happy to look at it,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said. “That what’s appropriate at this point, is look at all the laws that we already have on the books and to make sure that they’re working as they were intended to work, and that they’re being enforced the way they were intended to be enforced.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she not only supports the president’s position on the need come together and “build a national consensus to reduce violence in our country,” she also wants to know how the suspect, James Holmes, was able to acquire his arsenal.
“We need some answers about what happened in Colorado,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “There are important voices on all sides of this issue…We all recognize the importance of the Second Amendment and…also the need to reduce violence in our communities.”