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This week, the White House has said reinstating the assault-weapons ban would be one part of a multipronged approach aimed at putting a stop to the mass shootings of innocent civilians. It also has defended the Justice Department’s record of enforcing gun laws already on the books and enhancing background checks.

“The president believes, as he made very clear Sunday night … that we have not done enough as a country to address this problem and we need to do more,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday.

“What happened in Newtown hopefully will catalyze the process of doing more, and he will use the power of his office to move that along.”

Asked if Mr. Obama thinks he has not done enough as president, Mr. Carney said, “I think he made clear on Sunday that we as a nation, and he as a member and leader of this nation, need to do more, that we cannot tolerate these kinds of tragic incidents.”