The White House is weighing how best to move forward gun safety measures as the nation reels from its second mass shooting in a week.
Watch the briefing in the video player above.
Press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Wednesday that “just because you don’t get the policy making, the legislation the first time, it doesn’t mean you quit trying.”
She was referring to President Joe Biden’s heavy involvement in trying to secure gun control in the wake of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 children and six educators.
Psaki said polls show 80 percent of Americans, “including a good percentage of gun owners,” support background checks.
Biden has said the nation must act, but prospects for any major changes were dim, for now, in the closely divided Congress.
Asked whether Biden was considering executive action on the issue, Psaki said the president would prefer more permanent legislation, but added “there is current discussions and analysis internally of what steps can be taken,” she said.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed Tuesday morning to bring to the Senate floor legislation passed by the House that would require background checks for most gun sales and transfers. He said the Senate “must confront a devastating truth” after a lack of congressional action on the issue for almost three decades.
While a Senate vote on new gun control would be the first in several years, Democrats do not have the votes to pass any significant reform. They are not even united themselves, as Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told reporters Tuesday that he opposes the House legislation on background checks.
Manchin and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who have worked together for years to find compromise on background checks, both said they were opposed to the House legislation, which would close loopholes to ensure background checks are extended to private and online sales that often go undetected, including at gun shows, with some limited exemptions for family and other scenarios. A similar version Manchin and Toomey proposed just after the Sandy Hook shootings included a broader set of exemptions than the House bill.
Senate Democrats do not currently have deep enough support among Republicans to pass new gun control legislation in the 50-50 Senate, as they would need 60 votes to do so.
While expanding background checks is generally popular with the American public, even with some conservatives, Congress has been unable to find a successful compromise on guns in decades, making it one of the most intractable issues in American politics.