The PJ Tatler

Earnest: Weekend Urban Violence Shows Need for Gun Laws; Will See If Obama Wants to Talk About It

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the recent spate of urban violence shows a need for Congress to pass more gun laws — but President Obama may or may not comment on the rash of shootings.

A dozen people were killed and 43 were wounded in Chicago over the holiday weekend. In Baltimore, nine were killed in 29 shootings across the city this past weekend.

Asked about the violence at today’s press briefing, Earnest said the administration is “certainly continuing to be concerned by violence that we see in cities all across the country.”

“And I think it’s an indication of just how widespread this violence has become, that in some ways, it’s almost — it doesn’t sort of break through in the news coverage anymore when you see these kinds of — when you see this rash of violence. So this is something that, you know, the president’s talked about quite a bit,” he continued. “And this is a reflection of some pretty entrenched problems. And, you know, obviously, there’s some common-sense things that we can do. Certainly, passage of some gun safety laws in Congress that could keep guns out of the hands of criminals would be one thing that we could do to try to limit the violence.”

“There’s more that we could do to try to address some of the dire economic circumstances in some of these urban communities. And there’s more that we can do to support local governments and leaders in these communities to try to meet the needs of the local population. And — so there’s — there’s — this is going to require — there’s no one simple answer to trying to address this. But this is certainly a challenge that the president’s ready to confront.”

Asked if the president would like to comment on the crime wave himself, Earnest replied, “We’ll see what we can do.”

He referred reporters to the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Education for questions about summer jobs programs, etc., to help prevent summer shootings.