White House Press Secretary Jay Carney brushed off questions about gun control in the wake of the elementary school mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., Friday.
Carney said there will be a time to discuss policies in the wake of the shooting, but “I don’t think today is that day.” The White House, he said, is focused on the situation in Connecticut. Most news outlets were reporting Friday that at least 27 people, including as many as 18 children and the shooter, were killed inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
President Barack Obama has called Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to offer assistance and has been getting regular updates.
Obama has not pushed hard for any gun control measures since taking office four years ago, although he reiterated his support for an assault weapons ban earlier this year.
Carney said the president may issue a statement later today.
Meanwhile, some lawmakers said gun control should be the topic of the moment in the wake of what has been described as possibly the second-worst mass shooting in U.S. history, after the Virginia Tech shootings in 2006.
“Yet another unstable person has gotten access to firearms and committed an unspeakable crime against innocent children,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said in a statement Friday afternoon. “We cannot simply accept this as a routine product of modern American life. If now is not the time to have a serious discussion about gun control and the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our society, I don’t know when is. How many more Columbines and Newtowns must we live through? I am challenging President Obama, the Congress and the American public to act on our outrage and, finally, do something about this.”
Most members of Congress, however, took to social media to express their sympathy and condolences. For example, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., tweeted, “No words can console the parents of the children murdered at Sandy Hook. We share our prayers and our grief over these horrifying events.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.