McCarthy dodges questions about an assault weapons ban following a school shooting in Nashville.
When asked about the calls for reform, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy did not say whether the House would consider an assault weapons ban, setting up a familiar showdown between President Joe Biden and Republicans in Congress in the aftermath of the tragic mass shooting in Nashville.
The speaker emphasized his conference’s commitment to addressing the issue of mass shootings, but he did not specify what legislation he would propose as calls for changes to existing gun laws grow.
“There isn’t a single person in America who doesn’t want to try to solve all of this,” he said when asked about his plan to deal with mass shootings at an unrelated press conference on Thursday. “We want to make certain that we have all of the information.”
“I would advise the country as a whole that the problem we are facing today will not be solved solely through legislation. We need to have a serious conversation with this country. “We have to deal with mental illness,” he added later, adding, “I don’t think one piece of legislation will solve this.” I believe that a nation working together can solve a problem much larger than ourselves.”
When asked if an assault weapons ban or expanded background checks are on the table, McCarthy reiterated his stance from Wednesday, saying Republicans will first “get all the facts.”
“We’ll get all the information, and we’ll work through it,” he said.
McCarthy was evasive about which additional facts he sought.
Speaking ahead of McCarthy on Thursday, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries acknowledged that Democrats had not decided on a specific legislative approach to reform gun laws, but said Republicans should build on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act passed last year.
“We should prioritize children over guns and act with a sense of urgency. And my Republican colleagues must either step forward or step aside “According to Jeffries. ng.
Later, he added that House Republicans should bring legislation expanding background checks as well as prohibiting assault weapons to the House floor for debate, which McCarthy is unlikely to do.
Meanwhile, Biden has repeatedly stated that he lacks the executive authority to take additional action on guns, and has instead sent White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on a TV campaign to pressure Republicans to act.
“The president has done his part,” she said on Wednesday’s “GMA3.” “Congress must play their part.”
However, new legislation appears unlikely.
There have been several heated debates among lawmakers about the issue. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., chastised Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., on Wednesday after she called for increased school security and praised the “good guy with a gun” response in Nashville, in a moment typifying partisanship on Capitol Hill.
“Did the good guys with guns prevent the murder of six people? No. … But have you seen what AR-15 bullets can do to children? You know why you don’t go deer hunting with an AR-15? Because there isn’t anything left “said the Democrat
“You’re concerned about book bans? Dead children are unable to read “He went on to mention some politicians’ efforts to review materials in classrooms and school libraries.
Also on Wednesday, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., to calm down after an explosive discussion about guns.
“Can you please relax? Children are being killed! Children aged nine!” Bowman replied. “I was screaming before you came in and cut me off.”
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tennessee, told reporters this week that he does not see a way for Congress to act.
“It’s a dreadful, dreadful situation. We’re not going to fix it. Criminals will continue to be criminals “Burchett stated on Monday. “Honestly, I don’t see any real role that we could play other than screw things up because of the situation.”
The last major action on gun reform by Congress was in June of last year, just over a month after the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, which killed 19 students and two teachers.
According to a 2019 ABC News/Washington Post poll, six in ten Americans support a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips and 56% support a ban on the sale of assault weapons. A ban on assault weapons was supported by 81% of Democrats, 55% of independents, and 33% of Republicans.
In 2022, 51 school shootings resulted in injury or death, the most in a single year since Education Week, an independent news outlet covering K-12 schools, began keeping track of this information in 2018. According to data compiled by Education Week, this number represents an increase from the previous highest number of school shootings, which was 35 in 2021.