The Obama administration criticized members of Congress for refusing to address gun control – accusing pro-gun politicians of both parties of causing more gun deaths.
“That’s the real tragedy in all of this is that we have seen Republicans and some Democrats refuse to take some – what they perceive to be politically tough votes – in Congress. And the consequences have been tragic,” Earnest said, criticizing pro-gun Democrats for failing to support gun control measures after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
Ahead of an election year, Senate Democrats Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Max Baucus of Montana voted against a gun control proposal championed by Obama in 2013. They were later beaten in elections by Republicans. Current Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota also voted against the bill.
Earnest hinted that anti-gun control votes from members of Congress in both parties lacked a “principled case” as to why they voted against Obama’s proposals.
“Are you saying that there is no principled reason for anyone to oppose these actions?” one reporter asked, referring to Obama’s executive actions.
“Well, if there is, I haven’t heard it,” Earnest replied, adding that hundreds of police officers had been killed by guns since Congress refused to take action.
Obama is expected to meet with pro-gun congressional Democrats today at the White House.
Earnest argued that Obama was firmly committed to the idea of more gun control for the sake of saving lives.
“If it’s possible that we could prevent even one or two incidents of gun violence, then we’re going to eagerly implement those executive actions,” he said.
Obama is expected to announce his executive actions tomorrow at the White House.