Biden to deliver prime-time speech about gun control
By The Citizen on June 2, 2022
President Biden will deliver a speech in prime time Thursday about the need for gun reform, remarks that were hastily added to the White House schedule after another mass shooting grabbed headlines.
The White House said in updated guidance that Biden “will deliver remarks on the recent tragic mass shootings, and the need to pass commonsense laws to combat the epidemic of gun violence that is taking lives every day.”
Biden called for action on gun reform following mass shootings in recent weeks in Buffalo, N.Y., and Uvalde, Texas, but he’s largely left it up to Congress on what kind of measures to pursue. It’s unclear how much more specific Biden will get in the address Thursday, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. before he departs for a long weekend in Rehoboth Beach, Del.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declined to offer specifics when asked what Biden would push for in his address, beyond saying that he planned to use it to push for action from Congress and speak directly to the American public about gun violence.
“I don’t want to get ahead of the president but he’s going to make sure that he continues his call to action,” Jean-Pierre told reporters during a briefing Thursday afternoon.
Biden has kept distance from bipartisan negotiations about gun reform among senators, but he told reporters earlier this week that he would meet with lawmakers when the time is right.
Biden, who has long been a proponent of expanded background checks and an assault weapons ban, on Wednesday suggested he was realistic about the prospect of gun reform given the partisan divides in Washington. Republicans have long resisted measures to curtail firearms, and without GOP votes Democrats will not be able to pass such laws in the 50-50 Senate.
“I served in Congress for 36 years. I’m never confident, totally,” Biden told reporters Wednesday at the end of an event on the baby formula shortage, hours before officials briefed him on a mass shooting in Tulsa, Okla.
Jean-Pierre said Thursday, however, that Biden is “encouraged by what we’re seeing” on Capitol Hill.
A gunman in Tulsa killed four people in a rampage at a medical building on Wednesday, the latest in a string of mass shootings in the U.S. that have revived a debate about gun control. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in a shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, last week. Biden spent Sunday meeting with families of victims in that shooting.
Vice President Harris briefly addressed the Tulsa shooting at the beginning of remarks on student loan relief, saying the administration has been monitoring the shooting closely and would renew a push for gun safety legislation.
“No more excuses. Thoughts and prayers are important but not enough. We need Congress to act,” Harris told an audience at the Department of Education.