President Joe Biden on Tuesday promised to meet with members of Congress on gun policy, one week after a shooting at a Texas elementary school left 21 people dead.
“I will meet with Congress on guns, I promise you,” he told reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday, as he met with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Hours after the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers May 24, Biden called on Congress to pass new gun control legislation.
He said the U.S. government should take a stand against the gun lobby and gun manufacturers, whom he blamed for marketing assault weapons.
“We have to act,” he said. “And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage. I spent my career as a senator and a vice president working to pass common-sense gun laws. We can’t and won’t prevent every tragedy, but we know they work and have a positive impact.”
Speaking to reporters at a press briefing later Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre indicated that Biden would keep some distance from the bipartisan negotiations for the time being in order to allow them to play out.
“When the time comes, he will get involved,” Jean-Pierre said. “What we’re going to continue to do is call on Congress to act.”
Meanwhile, House Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler plans to hold a hearing Thursday on the “Protecting our Kids Act” — a package of eight bills that has almost no hopes of passing the Senate but would serve as a marker in the debate. It includes calls to raise the age limits on semi-automatic rifle purchases from 18 to 21 years old; create a grant program to buy back large-capacity magazines; establish voluntary safe practices for firearms storage and build on executive measures to ban bump stock devices and so-called ghost guns made from 3-D printing.