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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
By
Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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May 21, 2024

     The White House called “offensive” new House Speaker Mike Johnson’s remark that the problem with gun violence, and mass shootings in particular, is with the human heart and not with the guns themselves.  The truth hurts.

     It is the White House’s first rebuke, and likely not the last, since Johnson, R-La., was elected speaker.  In the wake of the mass shooting in Maine and calls from the Biden administration for action on gun laws, Johnson told Fox News on Thursday night, “At the end of the day, the problem is the human heart. It’s not guns. It’s not the weapons. At the end of the day, we have to protect the right of the citizens to protect themselves, and that’s the Second Amendment. And that’s why our party stands so strongly for that. … This is not the time to be talking about legislation.”

     White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates said in a statement Friday, “we absolutely reject the offensive accusation.”  “Gun crime is uniquely high in the United States because congressional Republicans have spent decades choosing the gun industry’s lobbyists over the lives of innocent Americans,” Bates said, according to The Hill. “Gun violence is now the main reason that American children’s hearts stop beating. Not cancer, not car accidents — gun violence.”

     Bates said Republican lawmakers’ unwillingness to act to prevent “weapons of war” from being used by civilians is a root cause for gun violence, calling the mass shooting in Maine, “the latest proof point that gun crime is an urgent national security crisis.”  Earlier during her daily briefing, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called on Johnson to lead a House effort on gun control legislation.

     “The House has a new Speaker who said he’s ready to get to work and to find common ground,” she said. “Now is the time to find common ground. Let’s work together to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. “Let’s work together to enact universal background checks, require safe storage of guns, and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous individuals who have no business being armed with a weapon of war.”

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