Though gun control was among the first things President Barack Obama talked about after last week's Charleston church massacre, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that it’s too early to know yet whether any additional gun control laws could have prevented the attack.
“The reason the president has continued to forcefully encourage Congress to take some common-sense steps to reduce gun violence is not with the idea that one piece of legislation would prevent every instance of gun violence,” Earnest told TheBlaze.
“The fact is this particular instance is still under investigation and so until we know more about what exactly has happened, or what did happen in this instance, it’s difficult to say whether one piece of legislation or one rule if changed could have prevented this particular action.”
After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the Obama administration backed legislation to ban semiautomatic weapons, certain magazine and to expand background checks, specifically closing the loophole on gun shows.
Last week, CNN reported that alleged gunman Dylann Roof had purchased a handgun at a gun store, which would be not be subject to loopholes of a gun show. The purchase also would not have been subject to laws regulating semiautomatic weapons or magazines.
Earnest said the point of more laws is not to address any specific incident, but to prevent future killings.
“The fact is, as the president pointed out, more than 11,000 Americans dies in 2013 from gun violence,” Earnest said. “If there is a simple thing that can be done that doesn’t undermine our constitutional rights, that doesn’t undermine the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans, that would lower that number, then we should do it. That’s why the president has made a persuasive and forceful case to Congress that they should take action.”