White House: Surge of Gun Sales Perplexing, "Tragic"

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. photo from breitbart.com.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called the most recent surge in U.S. gun sales tragic and ironic in comments to The Blaze on Thursday, according to this story.

Earnest cited the massive and record-breaking Black Friday gun sales, resulting in 185,000 NICS background checks.

"What I'm observing is that it's tragic that in the immediate aftermath of a series of high-profile mass shootings, people feel like they have to go out and purchase a gun," Earnest told The Blaze, "because it's our view, and backed up by common sense, our nation is awash in guns."

Earnest went on to equate the guns sold legally in gun shops to illegal guns sold "on street corners," and makes no distinction between legally purchased guns and what he calls "guns on the streets."

"There are statistic that the large quantity of guns on street corners and gun stores all across America, that access to guns and that proliferation of violent weapons of war has not led to fewer gun deaths," Earnest said. "In fact, that doesn't seem to be the effect we are witnessing here. So it's tragic in a situation where even when we have lots of guns on the streets that lead to lots of innocent Americans being killed, that the response to that is a lot more guns end up on the streets. It's tragic and ironic."

What I'm observing is that it's tragic that in the immediate aftermath of a series of high-profile mass shootings, people feel like they have to go out and purchase a gun.

When asked why he thinks Americans are buying more guns, the Washington Times quoted Earnest as saying, "I don't know, I really don't. In some cases these are individuals who believe that they need to buy a gun so that they can better protect themselves. In some cases because it's Black Friday, they probably are going and purchasing a gift for a friend or a loved one who is a gun enthusiast. I'm just pointing out that there are already an astonishing number of guns on the streets of America and far too many innocent Americans who are being killed by them."

There has been much media coverage of President Obama's reported push for an executive action regarding gun control that would bypass Congress. The Times says White House aides have indicated the proposals will be aimed at expanded background checks.

Obama has called on Congress to ban semiautomatic "assault" rifles and to ban people who are on the government's "no-fly" terrorist watch list from purchasing firearms.

Earnest said Thursday that he isn't aware of any perpetrators of mass shootings in the U.S. who were on the no-fly list, according to the Times.