Here’s where lawmakers stand on gun control measures
WASHINGTON – As the nation continues to reel from a series of mass shootings, lawmakers on both sides of the aisles have increasingly discussed revisiting gun-control legislation.
Back-to-back shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio restarted a national gun-control debate that reached members of Congress and the White House this week.
Some lawmakers are calling for “red flag” gun laws, while others are advocating for expanding background checks.
President Donald Trump has embraced both ideas and has said he will continue to work with lawmakers and receive input from the National Rifle Association.
There have been over 250 mass shootings in the United States this year alone. Here is what lawmakers have been saying about possible gun-control legislation.
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‘Common-sense background checks’
On Friday, Trump told reporters that congressional leaders are coming up with new “meaningful background checks” for gun buyers, calling for “common-sense background” checks.
He did not include any details of what that would include. Trump went on to suggest that the NRA would have input on whatever package emerges.
Earlier this week, Trump called for lawmakers to discuss passing “red flag” laws, which would allow police or family to petition for the temporary removal of firearms from a person if they deem them a danger to themselves or others.
Universal background checks
Many top Democrats, including House Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have urged Trump to call on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate back to a special session to vote on legislation that expands background checks that the House passed earlier this year.
The House passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which expands existing background checks law to include guns sold at gun shows, online and through person-to-person sales. The Enhanced Background Checks Act was also passed.
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Pelosi urged the president to use his constitutional power to bring back the Senate.
In a joint statement issued Thursday, Schumer and Pelosi said that they believed the “best way forward to address gun violence in our country” is to pass the House’s legislation.
“The President gave us his assurances that he would review the bipartisan House-passed legislation and understood our interest in moving as quickly as possible to help save lives,” they said in the statement.
Background checks ‘front and center’
McConnell, who has faced criticism from Democrats and drawn the ire from protesters, said Thursday that when Congress is back from recess, expanding background checks will be a top priority in debating legislation.
He said during a radio interview that the Senate would take up the debate in September with background checks “front and center.” He did not mention the House legislation that Democrats are urging the Senate to take up.
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In addition, McConnell said that red flag laws will be a priority.
McConnell on Monday said he spoke with the chairman of three committees – Judiciary; Commerce, Science and Transportation; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions — to discuss potential bipartisan solutions “to help protect our communities without infringing on Americans’ constitutional rights.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, over the weekend said he was going to be introducing his bipartisan red flag legislation.
Contributing: David Jackson, USA TODAY, Lucas Aulbach and Sarah Ladd, Louisville Courier Journal
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