With Democrats in Congress demanding action this month by Republicans in the Senate on a package of bills dealing with gun violence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he would only bring gun legislation to the Senate floor for a vote if President Donald Trump was on board.
"I said a few weeks ago that if the President took a position on a bill - so that we knew we would actually be making a law and not just having serial votes - I would be happy to put it on the floor," McConnell told the Hugh Hewitt radio show.
McConnell's comments came as law enforcement authorities said the suspect in last Friday's shootouts had failed a background check for a weapons purchase, and then went out and bought a military style weapon in a private transaction, which requires no background check, something a House bill would change.
"It's time to lead on this issue," said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. "Put the House-passed background checks bill on the Senate floor for debate and a vote."
The Texas shooter tried to buy a gun but failed a background check, so he used a loophole to obtain the AR-style weapon he used in his rampage.— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) September 3, 2019
Our broken gun laws allowed him to shoot 28 people, killing 7.
The bill we passed in the House in February could have prevented this. https://t.co/2fgH407rux
At this point, the White House has not endorsed any specific plans related to gun violence, though the President has spoken with key lawmakers in both parties about gun issues.
"Time is running out," said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who has been in touch with the President about possible compromise on gun legislation in recent weeks, and has tried to emphasize the opportunity is there for some kind of political compromise.
"I won't let the perfect be the enemy of the good if others do the same," Murphy said, though there hasn't been much in the way of indication of any breakthroughs.
Even Walmart is taking action before @senatemajldr. https://t.co/eltx9yUifa— Rep. Jennifer Wexton (@RepWexton) September 3, 2019
WASHINGTON (AP) — Law enforcement official tells AP that gunman in West Texas shooting obtained AR-style rifle through a private sale.— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) September 3, 2019
"STOP passing the buck. STOP making excuses. Bring the House bill to the floor now. Americans are dying because of your inaction," said Rep. Susie Lee (D-NV).
"It is beyond frustrating to watch these events occur without any concrete action to prevent them," said Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ).
"We could have fewer of these tragedies if the U.S. Senate would act on the 2 gun background-check bills the House passed over 6 MONTHS ago!" said Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA), as Democrats noted the decision by Walmart to stop selling ammunition for handguns and other firearms.
The National Rifle Association saw something much different.
The NRA says it is "shameful" that Walmart will stop selling handgun ammunition in response to never ending mass shootings. pic.twitter.com/Wa08FLTOKP— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) September 3, 2019
Congress is coequal and independent to the executive. @senatemajldr, STOP passing the buck. STOP making excuses. Bring the House bill to the floor now. Americans are dying because of your inaction. https://t.co/LTvA2CNeOO— Rep. Susie Lee (@RepSusieLee) September 3, 2019
"Glad to see Walmart taking this step - but they can't do the Senate's job for them," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
While the Senate remains in limbo on gun violence, the House has had to delay action this week on a series of gun measures, because of the weather uncertainties presented by Hurricane Dorian.
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