On Monday, just one day after President Obama delivered a speech at a vigil in Newton, Connecticut calling the nation to action against gun violence, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney wouldn’t say if gun safety legislation was a top priority for the administration in the second term.
Carney reiterated Obama’s support for banning assault weapons and called gun control “extremely important,” but didn’t elaborate on what the president would do moving forward:
CARNEY: We have a lot of priorities as a nation. And this president will work on a series of issues that he considers priorities for the nation. And I think that we all as a country need to have the bandwidth to move forward on all of them. He certainly will do that.
Q: But Jay, as legislative items go, is this now a priority?
CARNEY: I’m not going to rank priorities. This is clearly extremely important.
Q: He made it sound like this was the most important thing on the nation’s agenda.
CARNEY: I’m not going to rank priorities. The president just met with the Speaker of the House and to continue discussions on the fiscal cliff and efforts to get our deficits under control. We have the priority of immigration reform. We have a further steps we need to enhance economic growth and job creation — and we need to take meaningful action when it comes to the problem and surge of gun violence in America. We need to do all of it. And this president is committed to just that.
Asked by ABC’s Jack Tapper what the administration has done to get guns off the streets, Carney simply reiterated that Obama backs the assault weapons ban. “He supports legislation that is designed to ban some weapons. But as you know, this is a complex issue and it requires complex solutions,” he said.