Some of President Joe Biden's closest allies have little faith that his impassioned responses to the Uvalde, Texas, and Buffalo, New York, mass shootings will result in any concrete action on guns before the end of the year.

Since entering office, Biden has called on Congress to pass "common sense" gun control reforms. Still, with an evenly divided Senate and two Democratic senators who frequently vote with Republicans against Biden's wishes, legislation has little hope of advancing beyond the filibuster or even attaining simple majority support. Furthermore, legal experts say Biden himself has few options to enact meaningful reforms through executive action.


One option that has circulated around social media following the Uvalde tragedy posits that Biden could consider withholding funds from certain states to force them to pass statewide legislation, including raising the minimum firearm purchasing age to 21 or instituting mandatory background checks for all firearm transfers. This would be comparable to the use of federal highway funds to push states to set their legal drinking ages at 21.

All state funding issues are decided by Congress, as dictated by the Constitution, yet the Supreme Court suggested that individual states could be "singled out" by the executive branch on funding matters if the president can provide evidence the decision is "sufficiently related to the problem that it targets."

Both liberal and conservative legal experts, however, tell the Washington Examiner that any attempts by the Biden administration to invoke a similar exemption to force states to enact gun control reforms would likely be shot down by the courts.

Those experts argued that while tragic, the overwhelming majority of mass shootings are individual incidents lacking a common motive that could be highlighted by the administration.

Following the mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, Biden stressed the need to tamp down on domestic terrorism and racist rhetoric, which the president called a metastasizing "poison" within the country.

"A racially motivated hate crime is abhorrent to the very fabric of this nation. Any act of domestic terrorism, including an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology, is antithetical to everything we stand for in America," Biden said in a statement. "Hate must have no safe harbor. We must do everything in our power to end hate-fueled domestic terrorism."

"We must call it out and condemn it," Vice President Kamala Harris concurred. "Racially motivated hate crimes or acts of violent extremism are harms against all of us, and we must do everything we can to ensure that our communities are safe from such acts."

However, a domestic terrorism bill supported by the Biden White House that would ostensibly make it harder for mass shooters to acquire firearms died in the Senate on Thursday.

"We're disappointed that Congress did not move forward with the legislation that would strengthen our response to domestic terror incidents like we saw in Buffalo. We need Congress to act on that," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said of Thursday's vote. "We need Congress to advanced common sense measures that we know will save lives when it comes to gun violence."

Jean-Pierre additionally criticized the National Rifle Association for holding its annual summit just days after the tragedy.

"The leadership of the National Rifle Association has proven time and time again that they are contributing to the problem of gun violence, not trying to solve it. They represent the interests of the gun industry, the gun manufacturers, who are marketing weapons of war to young adults," she said. "They don't represent gun owners who know that we need to take action, and it's shameful that the NRA and their allies have stood in the way of every attempt to advance measures ... that we all know will save lives."

White House officials did not answer questions about leveraging federal funds as a means of forcing states to tighten gun purchasing and ownership laws.

Biden has focused his post-Uvalde response on pressuring Congress, specifically Republicans who have previously voted against universal background checks, to act.

"When in God's name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God's name are we going to do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?" Biden said in nationally televised remarks just hours after 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary. "I am sick and tired of it. We have to act, and don't tell me we can't have an impact on the carnage."

Furthermore, the president has repeatedly vowed to sign any gun control measures into law that come across his desk but has consistently opposed changing Senate rules to expedite that process. Furthermore, given the opposition to the president's gun proposals from Biden heel Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the White House would need to work with Republicans to pass any bill, and three liberal Hill staffers have previously signaled to the Washington Examiner they are "less than optimistic" that could happen with the midterm elections on the horizon.

One staffer expressed frustration and asked "how many more mass murders" must occur before "heartless" Republicans stop "putting politics ahead of people."


"Voters supported President Biden because we believed he would keep his campaign promises," a second staffer added. "He's obviously being blocked by ultra-MAGA lawmakers, but he could be doing so much more on gun reform, voting rights, green energy, and even forgiving student loan debt."