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Is Biden Missing His Chance on Guns?

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As president, he’s taking a much lower profile on the issue, focusing far more intently on efforts to pass his relief bill earlier this year and to champion his infrastructure package. It’s a position that extends throughout the administration: A day after the Boulder shooting, Vice President Kamala Harris pressured the Senate to take action, deflecting more than six minutes of questions about what executive actions the president was prepared to take.

“This is going to be about your viewers and all of us pleading to the reason, pleading to the hearts and minds of the people in the U.S. Senate,” she said. “Let’s say, ‘We’re going to hold our elected people accountable if they’re not going to be with us.’”

A few days later, when asked about the issue during a visit to a school in Connecticut, she quickly pivoted from guns to promoting the administration’s relief package.

Behind the scenes, White House advisers have met with gun control advocates and are working on a series of executive orders restricting firearms. They point to $5 billion for community-based violence prevention programs that was tucked into the infrastructure bill, heralding it as a historic investment. But privately, many worry that the White House may be losing the momentum for political action that comes each time the country is yet again horrified by a mass shooting.

They also realize that the period for a new administration to accomplish big legislative goals before the politics of a midterm election take hold is relatively short. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled that she hopes to pass the infrastructure bill by July 4. There’s also a second part of the legislation that deals with “human infrastructure” policies, like paid family leave and universal pre-K. Some gun control advocates fear that they are being bumped to the back of the line.

“It’s dizzying when you think about where we are and the real time we have. It’s not a lot,” Ms. Brown said. “There is no question the administration is working aggressively on the issue internally, but it needs to be communicated with the same passions externally.”

Of course, it appears unlikely that any proposal restricting guns could pass the narrowly divided Senate. Even though public support for stricter gun control measures has been creeping higher, and the nation’s most powerful gun lobby, the N.R.A., is weakened and bankrupt, Republicans have shown no indication of supporting any such legislation.

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