White House: Republican inaction on guns 'unacceptable'
Adds White House comment, background
By Nandita Bose and Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON, March 29 (Reuters) -The White House made an emotional plea on Wednesday for Republican action to curb mass shootings, criticizing conservative lawmakers for saying nothing can be done after the nation's latest high-profile mass shooting at a school in Tennessee this week.
"It's unacceptable that Republicans are saying there is nothing that we can do," White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday. "Our schools, our churches, our places of worships have now become deadly places for many Americans."
Democratic U.S. President Joe Biden has called for bipartisan action to help stop such shootings, including a renewed ban on assault weapons, and described Monday's attackin Nashville that killed six people, including three children, as "sick." He told reporters this week he has done what he could through executive action but needs Congress to step up.
Several Republican lawmakers in Congress this week, asked what legislative action could help address the rising tide of gun violence, have said there was little they could do.
"When we start talking about bans or challenging the Second Amendment, I think the things that have already been done have gone about as far as we're going to with gun control," Republican U.S. Senator Mike Rounds told CNN earlier on Wednesday, saying instead schools need more funding to harden their security.
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right of Americans to bear arms.
Biden spoke about the shooting by phone on Wednesday with U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, who has often been a harsh critic of his administration, according to the White House. It did not say whether they discussed policy responses.
Reporting by Nandita Bose and Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Katharine Jackson and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Daniel Wallis
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