President Obama will keep seeking more gun-control measures no matter what the outcome of the current Senate debate, a top White House official said Thursday.
“A lot of us have been working on this issue for decades,” said White House communications director Jennifer Palmieri on MSNBC. “So I don’t think we ever feel, and I’m sure the president won’t feel, that this battle is over no matter what ends up in law this time around.”
The Senate voted Thursday to proceed with debate and an eventual floor vote on gun-control legislation that would include expanded background checks on gun purchases. Mr. Obama also supports measures that would ban assault-style weapons, limit the capacity of ammunition magazines and promote school safety, although those proposals are less likely to clear the Senate right now.
Ms. Palmieri said background checks have overwhelming public support.
“This is among the reasons that the president feels it’s really important that we continue to push for all four of the legislative measures, not just background checks,” she said. “They may not pass in the Senate this time, but you’ve just got to keep pushing and pushing and seeing where you can make progress. And this is why we’re not dropping any element of this bill.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney said the Senate’s vote Thursday was a welcome initial step. He said lobbying by families whose children were killed in the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre helped to move the legislation forward.
“The president has no doubt whatsoever that the voices of the Newtown families and the voices of Americans across the country that were raised this week as part of an effort to urge the Senate to move forward and not block procedurally progress on this legislation had a positive effect, and may well have been decisive,” Mr. Carney said.