White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that President BarackObama is “always” looking for opportunities to act “unilaterally” again on guns, though he would prefer to work with Congress.
White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest speaks to the media during the daily news briefing at the White House, June 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
“The president’s goal is to look for opportunities to act administratively, unilaterally using his executive authority to try to make our communities safer,” Earnest said, responding to a question the day that a gunman opened fire at an Oregon high school, killing one student and injuring a teacher. “We’re always looking for those opportunities. But none of those opportunities when they present themselves is going to be an acceptable substitute for robust legislative action.”
Police said the shooter at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon, was later found dead.
After the December 2012 massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama took 23 executive actions to restrict guns. However, an Obama-backed bill for stronger background checks for gun purchases could not even get enough support to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate.
“There’s no doubt there has been an alarming frequency of tragic incidents of gun violence that are concerning to Democrats and Republicans in Washington but more importantly to people all across the country,” Earnest said. “The question is what can we do to make certain something like this never ever happens again? There are going to be other tragedies. The question I think really facing lawmakers right now is what common sense steps can Democrats and Republicans take to reduce the likelihood of gun violence.”
“And there are some, and they have unfortunately been bottled up in Congress and that is a disappointment to the president,” Earnest continued. “But that’s not going to stop the president from continuing to push for administrative steps that we can take to help reduce gun violence.”