House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday that lawmakers must see “all the facts” before any gun legislation can be put forward following the shooting in Nashville this week, the first public comments the California Republican has made to reporters since the incident.
McCarthy’s remarks ultimately follow a similar sentiment expressed by fellow Republicans, President Joe Biden and Democrats: that efforts to increase gun control are likely to be an uphill battle despite multiple mass shootings.
“We want to see all the facts, we need to get the facts,” McCarthy said when asked whether he would put forward legislation on guns following the Nashville shooting.
According to data from the national Gun Violence Archive, the Nashville shooting was the latest in 130 mass shooting incidents so far this year.
When pressed by CNN on what more “facts” he would need, McCarthy refused to answer and left through an exit.
Despite the grim statistics, Biden said Tuesday that his hands are essentially tied on gun control measures and that it was up to Congress to act. Senior White House officials also told CNN that the administration does not have any plans for a major push on gun safety reform.
“I can’t do anything except plead with the Congress to act reasonably,” Biden told CNN’s MJ Lee on Tuesday.
“I have done the full extent of my executive authority – to do on my own, anything about guns … The Congress has to act. The majority of the American people think having assault weapons is bizarre, it’s a crazy idea. They’re against that. And so I think the Congress could be passing an assault weapon ban,” he added.
Since Biden took office, he has taken more than 20 executive actions on guns. Some of those actions include regulating the use of “ghost guns” and sales of stabilizing braces that effectively turn pistols into rifles. He also signed a bipartisan bill in 2022 which expands background checks and provides federal funding for so-called “red flag laws” – although it failed to ban any weapons and fell far short of what Biden and his party had advocated for.
On Tuesday, Republican House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who survived being shot in 2017, also demurred when asked if the latest school shooting in Nashville would get Congress to act on gun reforms.
“I really get angry when I see people try to politicize it for their own personal agenda, especially when we don’t even know the facts,” Scalise said when asked if his conference was prepared to do anything to address the spate of mass shootings, mentioning only improving mental health and securing schools.
Meanwhile, Democrats have continued to slam Republicans on their disinterest to enact any legislative changes on guns.
Democratic Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin told reporters this week that he is “not very hopeful” that the Senate can pass gun legislation this Congress.
“I’m not very hopeful, yet we have to try,” he said.