President Biden on Tuesday argued that he can’t do much more to curb gun violence other than plead with Congress to act, blaming lawmakers for their lack of legislation to ban assault weapons following another deadly school shooting — this time in Nashville.
“The Congress has to act. The majority of the American people think having assault weapons is bizarre, it’s a crazy idea. They’re against that,” Biden told reporters. “I can’t do anything except plead with Congress to act reasonably.”
He renewed his call for an assault weapons ban on Monday after the shooting that took place at a Christian elementary school in Nashville. The 28-year-old suspect was armed with three guns, two of which were assault-type weapons, and killed three children — all 9 years old — and three adults before being fatally shot by police.
Later on Tuesday, Biden said people ask him why he keeps calling for an assault weapons ban if it’s likely an non-starter in the GOP-controlled House.
“Because I want you to know who isn’t doing it, who isn’t helping. Put pressure on them,” he said.
“There’s a moral price to pay for inaction,” he added.
Biden’s comments echoed that of White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who earlier on Tuesday also punted to Congress to act. She called on Republicans to show political “courage,” saying they have to answer to families who have lost love ones in mass shootings.
The president on Tuesday also argued that he has done all that he can on gun safety from the executive office.
“I have gone the full extent of my executive authority, on my own. I think it’s about time,” the president said.
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.
Jean-Pierre had argued that Biden 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 on Tuesday. “We have had a president who has acted on this.”