Obama calls for assault weapon ban after CO massacre.
In today's White House press conference, the press secretary said Obama supports "common sense" measures to curb violence. Two of the "common sense" measures will be to have the ATF tighten their enforcement of current laws and to renew the assault weapons ban.
Re: Obama calls for assault weapon ban after CO massacre.
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 7/26/12
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
See below for a follow up to a question (marked with an asterisk) posed in the briefing.
*The status of Jerusalem is an issue that should be resolved in final status negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. We continue to work with the parties to resolve this issue and others in a way that is just and fair, and respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.
12:49 P.M. EDT
MR. CARNEY: Thank you all for being here. It’s wonderful to be back in the White House briefing room. I have a couple of brief announcements I wanted to make, if you will bear with me.
First, earlier this morning, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, hosted an Olympic security deputy’s meeting with the full counterterrorism and law enforcement community to take stock of our efforts working with the United Kingdom to prepare for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Following that meeting, Mr. Brennan provided the President with an update on the Olympics as well as the United States government’s support to the United Kingdom prior to and during the games. The President directed that we continue to ensure that we are doing everything possible to keep the American people safe and to continue close cooperation with our British counterparts.
In keeping with our special relationship, the President also made it clear that he has the utmost confidence in our close friend and ally, the United Kingdom, as they finalize preparations to host the London Olympics.
Next, changing subjects, I just wanted to note that, as you saw last night, the Senate took action and passed a bill to extend the middle-class tax cuts for 114 million middle-class families. The House should follow suit and pass this bill right away. The House Republicans are now the only people left in Washington holding hostage the middle-class tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses.
The fact is the typical middle-class family cannot afford a $2,200 tax hike at the beginning of next year. It’s time for House Republicans to drop their demand for another $1 trillion giveaway to the wealthiest Americans and give our families and small businesses the financial security and certainty that they need.
As the President said last night, we need tax cuts for working Americans, not for folks who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them.
And with that, I will take your questions. Mr. Feller -- oh, wait, before I do, I think congratulations are in order. I should have said that when I called on you, but I’ll do it again.
Q Thanks, Jay. I wanted to try to get some clarity about gun control and the President’s positions. Since the Colorado tragedy, you’ve been telling us that the President wants to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people under existing laws. And then, last night, to the Urban League, he said there have been actions taken, but they do not go far enough. He talked about AK-47s being kept off the city streets. And so I’m just trying to get clear -- does he or does he not think that any new gun legislation --
MR. CARNEY: Well, let me back up a little bit and say that President Obama has called for common-sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and improve public safety by keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them under existing law.
And, as I think you know, thanks to the administration’s efforts, background checks conducted on those looking to purchase firearms are now more thorough and more complete. The Department of Justice can provide more details on that.
I would also say that, or note, that the President made a broader point last night, which is that tackling the problem of violence is not just about gun laws. In communities across the country, the administration is partnering with local law enforcement and government officials to reduce crime, to connect young people with summer jobs, so they spend less time on the street, and to set up programs that steer children away from a life of gang violence and toward the safety and promise of a classroom.
We also must recognize that it is not enough to debate the role of government in reducing violence. It is up to parents, teachers, neighbors, and communities to make a difference in the lives of our young people as well.
I think that the point the President was making in the speech that he delivered last night was that we have to remember that in the wake of an 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.
Q I get that broader point that he was speaking about more than the role of government and that was sort of part of the coverage. But I’m still not clear about the answer to my specific question. Does he think any new specific gun legislation is needed, or is existing -- enforce existing laws is needed?
MR. CARNEY: Well, he believes that we can enhance the enforcement of existing laws by making it more difficult for those who should not have weapons under existing laws, make it more difficult for them to obtain weapons. And that’s what his Department of Justice have been working on.
I think you’re aware of the fact that there is a stalemate in Congress on a broad range of issues, and this would include this one. The assault weapons ban is an issue that the President has supported the reinstatement of since its expiration in 2004.
But, given the stalemate in Congress, our focus is on the steps that we can take to make sure criminals and others who should not have those guns, make sure that they cannot obtain them.
Q So just two quick points. So does he plan to do anything, when he talked last night about working with Congress -- no stone unturned -- does he plan to do anything this year to make another case for that assault weapons ban?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I’m not going to make scheduling announcements in terms of what the President may or may not say in the future. What I can tell you is that the President’s point last night was broader. I think there is an issue about the stalemate in Congress, and there are things that we can do short of legislation and short of gun laws, as the President said, that can reduce violence in our society and, as he mentioned last night, in our urban centers.
So I think he -- I know he will continue to press the Department of Justice to try to enhance the enforcement of existing laws, try to further develop our background check system so that it prevents criminals and those who should not have weapons from getting them under existing law. And he’ll continue to make sure that his administration is partnering with local law enforcement officials and government officials to try to do the things that I talked about at the top that can help reduce violence.
Q Last one. You focus a lot on background checks. Our reporting shows that the suspect in Aurora passed all of his background checks. Can you explain how even an enhanced background check system would stop something like this?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't think the President ever suggested that the background check can stop every crime from occurring in America, even one as heinous as this. I’m not going to get into the specifics of what happened in Aurora because there’s obviously an ongoing investigation.
But we do need to take a broader look at what we can do to reduce violence in America. And it requires a multi-faceted approach that looks at this problem from a variety of angles, and that's not just legislative and it’s not just about gun laws.
Re: Obama calls for assault weapon ban after CO massacre.
He already announced his thinking when he told Mevedev that he would have more flexibility after the election. It is imperative that we win the Senate and keep the House and then possibly get Mitt in the White House. That means that all of us have to vote and we have to encourage like minded people to also vote. Apathy will be the death of us.