White House Officials Still Not Optimistic About Gun Control
18:08 GMT 03.06.2022 (Updated: 20:37 GMT 19.10.2022)
On Thursday, President Joe Biden addressed the nation, laying out his proposal for gun control in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York shootings. Biden called for a ban on assault rifles, high capacity magazines, red flag laws, among other provisions.
Privately, White House officials are not optimistic that gun control legislation will be able to pass the Senate, according to Axios
. During his speech on Thursday, President Joe Biden publicly expressed some skepticism that Congress will get a gun control law to his desk.
“I support the bipartisan efforts that include a small group of Democrats and Republican senators trying to find a way,” the president stressed. “But my God, the fact that the majority of the Senate Republicans don’t want any of these proposals even to be debated or come up for a vote, I find unconscionable.”
The Senate is split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tie breaker, but the bill will need the support of 10 Republicans to overcome a filibuster and be brought to a vote.
Publicly, the White House has expressed optimism that Republicans will acquiesce to gun legislation, at least in some form. Shortly before Biden’s speech on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “Look, he’s encouraged. He's encouraged by what we’re seeing on the Hill. You know, this is the first time in a very long time that we have seen this type of bipartisanship."
There have been some lukewarm indications that Republicans are willing to come to the table and discuss gun control legislation, including the bipartisan talks between a small number of senators from both parties, but no Republican senators have definitively said they will support the proposals Biden made in his speech.
The call for an assault rifle ban is perceived as a non-starter with Republicans, and Biden hinted that he may be willing to move forward without the ban.
“If we can’t ban assault weapons, then we should raise the age to purchase them from 18 to 21. Strengthen background checks. Enact safe storage laws and red-flag laws. Repeal the immunity that protects gun manufacturers from liability. Address the mental health crisis deepening the trauma of gun violence and as a consequence of that violence.”
Mental health is one issue Republicans have stressed they are willing to discuss, though many see it as a distraction issue to avoid meaningful reform on gun control.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina implied in a tweet that he would vote against the proposals mentioned by Biden in his speech on Thursday, but also indicated that he would be open to discussions. He did not reveal what specific proposals he would be willing to discuss.