President Biden on Wednesday told survivors and families affected by gun violence that “work continues” on a “whole range” of gun control measures with only a few weeks left in Congress’s lame-duck session.
The 80-year-old president’s comments at the 10th Annual National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence held at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church in Washington, DC come less than a month after he vowed to push for a ban on “assault weapons” and start “counting the votes” before the end of the year.
“Even as our work continues to limit the number of bullets that can be in a cartridge, the type of weapon that can be purchased and sold, attempt to ban assault weapons, a whole range of things – It’s just common sense. Just simple common sense,” Biden said.
“We did it before,” he added, citing the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban that expired in 2004, and he claimed that the number of mass shootings was significantly reduced because of the legislation.
But both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have become increasingly pessimistic about the prospect of passing more gun control legislation before the end of the lame-duck session.
“I don’t think that’s on the table,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who supported the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act that Congress passed this summer, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday about that chance passing an assault weapons ban before the end of the year.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who spoke after Biden at Wednesday’s vigil, and whose home state suffered one of the worst mass shootings in US history when a gunman massacred 20 children and six adults inside Sandy Hook Elementary School 10 years ago this month, was also gloomy Wednesday about the chances of an assault weapons ban.
Blumenthal told Fox News Digital that the Senate “has a lot on our plate” right now and that there are “probably not 60 votes” that are needed for gun-control supporting senators to break a filibuster.
However, Blumenthal noted that he would like to see a vote on a bill even if it fails.
“I personally would like to be on the record,” he said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was pressed by reporters Wednesday on Biden’s Thanksgiving Day comments pushing for a semi-automatic weapons ban before the end of the year, but offered little insight on how much work the president has done on gun control during the lame-duck session.
“Look, he wants to see — he wants to see the Senate get it done. He wants to see, obviously, a vote in the Senate. He wants to make sure – he wants to see the assault weapons ban get done. And he believes that is what’s going to save the lives of families and communities across the country,” Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.
When asked specifically if Biden had personally counted the votes he has in Congress to ban assault weapons Jean-Pierre said she did not “have any determination to share” and added that “there’s a lot happening … in the next couple of weeks.”
“Whether this happens in the next three weeks or beyond, this is — continues to be a priority for this President,” she added.
“I’m sick and tired of these shootings. We should have much stricter gun laws,” Biden told reporters on Thanksgiving outside the Nantucket Fire Department in Massachusetts.
The president made the comments as the country reeled from a spate of mass shootings in November, including ones at the University of Virginia, a Walmart in Virginia, and a LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado.
“I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons,” he insisted.
“I’m going to do it whenever I — I got to make that assessment as I get in and start counting the votes,” Biden added.