(NewsNation) — When asked about the ongoing active shooter situation in Atlanta on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the president had been made aware but did not have enough information to comment on the rapidly evolving incident specifically.
Instead, Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden remains “frustrated” by the “gun violence epidemic” in American communities and called on federal lawmakers to take action.
“We know that Congress needs to take more steps to deal with the violence that we’re seeing again in our communities, our schools, our churches,” said Jean-Pierre.
As of Wednesday afternoon, local police are still searching for 24-year-old Deion Patterson, who is suspected of shooting five women, killing one at a medical complex in Midtown Atlanta. It’s still unclear what type of weapon was used or how it was obtained.
In reference to gun violence across the U.S., Jean-Pierre said the Biden Administration wants to see “common sense” gun reform, citing background check requirements, safe storage laws and the end of “immunity for gun manufacturers” as potential options.
“These are the things that we want to see Congress act on and so we’re going to continue to call on them to do so,” she said.
Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, echoed the Biden adminsitration’s call for action on the Senate floor Wednesday and said “thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
“It is a contradiction to say that you are thinking and praying and then do nothing,” said Warnock. “It is to make a mockery of prayer.”
It’s been nearly a year since Biden signed a bipartisan gun safety bill.
The legislation toughens background checks for the youngest gun buyers, keeps firearms from more domestic violence offenders and helps states put red flag laws in place. Most of the bill’s $13 billion cost will help bolster mental health programs and aid schools, which have become targets of shooters.
Biden has repeatedly called for an assault weapons ban, though a DOJ analysis of a previous 1994 ban showed mixed results when it came to reducing criminal use of the banned weapons.