Vice President Joe Biden, who led the task force that put together the package Obama will announce, will also attend the 11:45 a.m. announcement. Biden’s group met with gun violence victims, gun rights advocates, law-enforcement and elected officials, and representatives from the entertainment industry.
Obama and Biden “will be joined by children from around the country who wrote the president letters in the wake of that tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety, along with their parents,” Carney said.
The president’s announcement is certain to touch off a pitched political battle in Congress, where gun rights advocates backed by the National Rifle Association have served notice they’re not on board with new gun control measures. The White House has worked to reassure Americans that there will be no government gun grab.
“The president, as he has said often and said yesterday, believes that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms,” Carney said. “He believes and knows that most all gun owners are highly responsible, they buy their guns legally and they use them safely.”
At a press conference on Monday, Obama suggested that long lines at gun stores and depleted stocks of ammunition stemmed from “a fear that’s been fanned” by foes of gun control. “It obviously is good for business,” he added.
Gun control supporters say the national mood has changed since Sandy Hook and that there will be a political price to pay for blocking popular measures like restrictions on large-capacity ammunition clips and tougher background checks on would-be gun buyers. The fate of Obama’s calls for Congress to renew the Assault Weapons Ban is less clear, but Carney made clear on Tuesday that the measure was expendable in the broader fight.
“The president has made clear that he supports and has long supported a renewal of the assault weapons ban,” Carney said, but “he’s not going to say that we have to move on this one [proposal] or else we don’t move on that one.”
“I know he doesn’t believe that even if everything that he puts forward were acted on, made law, when it comes to legislative action, or acted on in other ways, that we would eliminate gun violence in America,” the spokesman said.
Biden recently said that Obama would consider taking steps by executive fiat on some issues if Congress fails to act.
“The president has made clear that we all need to do more, and we all need to examine our consciences and acknowledge that we have not done enough to protect our children,” Carney said. “If we had, some of the tragedies that we’ve seen in this country—most recently in Connecticut—might not have happened.”
Asked whether Obama would push members of Congress personally or try to mobilize public pressure on lawmakers, Carney replied: “It’s not a question of do you sit down in a room with leaders of Congress or do you go out and engage the American people. You do both.”