The White House has issued a strong rebuke to Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) for his recent comments suggesting that the “human heart” is to blame for mass shootings.
This reaction came in the aftermath of a tragic incident in Maine where a gunman claimed the lives of 18 people.
Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates responded to Johnson’s remarks, stating, “We reject the offensive accusation that gun crime is uniquely high in the United States because of Americans’ ‘hearts.'”
He went on to emphasize that the high rate of gun crime in the United States is primarily due to the influence of the gun industry’s lobbyists on congressional Republicans.
Bates added, “Gun violence is now the main reason that American children’s hearts stop beating. Not cancer, not car accidents — gun violence.”
Bates pointed out that the root cause of gun violence is the unwillingness of Republican lawmakers to take action to prevent civilians from accessing “weapons of war.”
He described the Lewiston, Maine shooting as “the latest proof point that gun crime is an urgent national security crisis.”
The White House statement made it clear that the issue at hand is not related to any perceived deficiency in the hearts of the American people.
Bates also noted that blaming the situation on women’s right to make their own healthcare decisions, as Speaker Johnson had once suggested, is not relevant to the issue of gun violence.
These comments represent one of the most direct criticisms of Speaker Johnson since his recent election to the position.
Johnson’s remarks came during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, where he asserted that the heart, not guns, is the problem.
He reiterated the importance of protecting citizens’ rights under the Second Amendment, advocating against discussing legislation in the wake of such tragedies.
Law enforcement is still actively working to locate and apprehend the perpetrator behind the Lewiston shooting, which has left communities in Maine and nearby areas on lockdown.
President Biden has consistently called for the reinstatement of an assault weapons ban to address the alarming frequency of mass shootings in the United States.
The White House has reiterated these calls following the recent tragedy in Maine, as efforts to address the issue of gun violence remain at the forefront of the national agenda.