White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Congress needs to take action on gun control, hours after the fatal on-air shootings of a news crew in Virginia.
Earnest said he had not yet spoken with President Barack Obama about the murders of two journalists near Roanoke, Virginia.
“This is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities large and small all across the United States,” Earnest said. “While there is no piece of legislation that will end all violence in this country, there are commonsense things that only Congress can do that we know would have a tangible impact in reducing gun violence in this country. Congress can take those steps in a way that would not infringe on the constitutional rights of law abiding Americans. The president has long advocated Congress taking those steps.”
Reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were gunned down while filming a live segment early Wednesday morning. Virginia State Police say the suspect, identified as Vester Lee Flanagan, is dead.
In 2013, Obama pushed for Congress to pass a law beefing up background checks for gun purchasers. The legislation failed even to get through a then-Democratic Senate. Earnest noted that Obama has taken a number of executive actions regarding guns.
Earnest said the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting state and local authorities in the investigation regarding the details of the case.
A reporter later asked if Obama thinks there should be a reevaluation of the “basic constitutional freedom” of the Second Amendment.
“The president does not advocate changing the Second Amendment. He believes we can actually take commonsense steps that are entirely consistent with protections in the Second Amendment but would have an impact in reducing gun violence in this country,” Earnest said. “I describe those things as commonsense in part because of the obvious impact it would have on making our communities more safe. I also say that because it wouldn’t require a substantial change to something as significant as the Constitution.”