Not Today: Sarah Sanders Bats Down White House Press Corps Questions Pushing For More Gun Control

Posted: Oct 02, 2017 3:25 PM

Speaking from the White House briefing room Monday afternoon, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pushed back on a number of questions from the press corps about the need for more gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre. 

Standing at the lectern, Sanders repeatedly stated today isn't the time to talk about policy solutions, especially when all of the facts surrounding the situation are far from fully known. 

"Sarah, many times when these horrible massacres occur, it leads to questions about gun control. Has this particular massacre made the President think anymore about pursuing tighter gun laws such as massacres like this from happening?" Reuters Jeff Mason asked. 

"This is an unspeakable tragedy. Today is the day for consoling the survivors and mourning those who were lost. Our thoughts and prayers are certainly with all of those individuals. There's a time and place for a political debate but now is the time to unite as a country. There's currently an open and ongoing law enforcement investigation. A motive has yet to be determined and it would pre-mature for us to discuss policy when we don't fully know al of the facts or what took place last night," Sanders responded. 

"Does the President believe that this is a moment, that this is a time when this should not be a political discussion, it should be a policy discussion, does he believe that he could bring something new to the gun debate that has been locked in typical politics for so many years," CNN's Jeff Zeleny pushed again. 

"I think today, again, is a day of reflection, a day of mourning and a day of gratefulness for those who were saved. There will certainly be time for a policy discussion to take place but that's not the place that we're in at this moment," Sanders said. 

"Before he was elected President, some 15 or 16 years ago, he did have a different view on guns than he did on the campaign. Does he believe that this is something he could lead a bipartisan effort at some point and at what point would that be appropriate?" Zeleny followed up. 

"I think that's something we can talk about in the coming days and see what that looks like moving forward. I think one of the things we don't want to do is try to create laws that won't stop these types of things from happening," Sanders said. "If you look to Chicago where you had over 4000 victims of gun related crimes last year, they have the strictest gun laws in the country. That certainly hasn't helped there. So I think we have to, when that time comes for those conversations to take place, then I think we have to look at things that will have a real impact." 

Another reporter justified his question about gun control by citing Hillary Clinton, who lied about silencers and attacked the NRA earlier today.

"A bill was advancing through the House. Republicans cleared it through the House Committee of Natural Resources that would, among other things, make it easier for people to buy silencers," another reporter asked. "Hillary Clinton tweeted about it this morning. She said, 'Imagine the deaths in Las Vegas if the shooter had a silencer which the NRA wants to make easier to get.' Does the White House have a position on this particular piece of legislation" 

"I have not spoken the President about that specific issue," Sanders said. "Again, I think before we start talking about the preventions of what took place last night we need to know more facts and right now we're simply not at that point. It's very easy for Mrs. Clinton to criticize and come out but we I think we need to remember that the only person with blood on their hands is that of the shooter.  This isn't a time for us to go after individuals or organizations. I think we can have those policy conversations but today is not that day." 

At the time of the briefing, authorities still had not released information about what specific kind of firearm the shooter used. We also don't have any details about how the assailant obtained his weapons, legally or illegally. Further, it should be noted firearms are not allowed inside the Mandalay Bay hotel. The murderer who killed 58 people Sunday night and wounded 500 more violated that rule.