“I will continue to encourage him to play a role,” Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), among the staunchest gun reformers on Capitol Hill, said Thursday when asked about Obama’s position.

As if recognizing his own reserve, Quigley added, “I’m not trying to be funny, I just don’t know what else to do.”

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), Congress’s loudest voice for tougher gun laws, also declined to poke Obama on the issue, suggesting the president is focused on things like the economy that resonate with a much greater number of voters.

“I do believe the President of the United States … believes in what we believe in,” she said this week. “But there are other things that, right now, [are] on everybody else’s plate.”