Six months after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. and two months after the Senate blocked a bill for expanded background checks on gun purchases, the White House says the administration has made serious progress on gun control, but needs Congress to take the next steps.
At an event at the White House Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden is expected to describe the administration's progress on 21 out of 23 executive actions intended to reduce gun violence after the shooting at Sandy Hook. Those actions, which were suggested by a gun violence task force led by Biden, include lifting a freeze on federal research into the causes of gun violence and making it easier for federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
But in a progress report issued Tuesday, the White House noted that now "Congress must also act" – particularly on expanding background checks. When the Senate rejected that amendment in April, an angry President Barack Obama called it a "shameful day for Washington" and said the vote was "just round one" of the fight for more gun control.
Five states have tightened gun laws in the six months since Sandy Hook, while more than a dozen states have loosened them.
The White House said it had not made progress on two executive actions: confirming a new director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a process left to Congress because the administration has already made a nomination, and finalizing regulations on mental health benefits with the Department of Health and Human Services.