White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday placed the blame for President Obama’s stalled gun-control agenda solely on Republicans, a day after a mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.
The shooting has sparked calls from gun-control advocates for Obama to renew his push for tighter restrictions on firearm ownership.
Carney said that Obama would continue to push measures to reduce gun violence and accused Republicans of being unwilling to compromise.
“The problem here is not Democrats,” Carney insisted.
Obama was dealt an embarrassing legislative defeat early in his second term when lawmakers rebuffed his bid for expanded background checks, an assault-weapons ban and a prohibition on high-capacity magazines.
It wasn’t just Republicans, however, that blocked those initiatives.
Democrats from red-leaning states, including many up for reelection in 2014, had little appetite to back the president’s blueprint for curtailing gun violence.
And despite all the focus on the Navy Yard massacre, congressional leaders have expressed skepticism that the political dynamic has been altered in a bitterly divided Washington.
“This doesn’t change the political equation,” a GOP Senate leadership aide told the Washington Examiner.
Aaron Alexis, who authorities say shot and killed 12 people just miles from the White House and Capitol Hill, used a valid pass to enter the Navy Yard. FBI officials say the alleged gunman, who was killed by police, had a history of mental illness.
“He doesn’t accept that it’s the normal,” Carney said of the president’s reaction to the shooting. “He believes that Americans don’t and can’t accept that.”