Democrats: Trump should demand Senate vote on gun bill

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If President Donald Trump is serious about strengthening gun laws in the wake of two mass shootings, he should demand that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put a House-passed bill strengthening background checks up for a vote, congressional Democrats said Monday.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the Senate GOP leader is blocking gun safety reforms that more than 90% of Americans support. He tweeted that McConnell, R-Ky., should "gavel the Senate into emergency session to take immediate action" on the House-passed bill, which would require federal background checks for all firearms sales and transfers, including those sold online or at gun shows. Another bill allows an expanded 10-day review for gun purchases.

The House approved the bills in February but they have not come up for consideration in the Republican-controlled Senate.

In a brief White House speech, Trump condemned weekend shootings in Texas and Ohio that left 31 people dead as barbaric crimes "against all humanity" and called for bipartisan cooperation to respond to an epidemic of gun violence. He offered few specific solutions, but signaled opposition to large-scale gun control efforts, saying, "hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun."

"We vow to act with urgent resolve," Trump said.

Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump's omission of background checks in his White House remarks showed he was already backing away from his morning tweet.

"It took less than three hours for the president to back off his call for stronger background check legislation," the Democrats said in a joint statement. "When he can't talk about guns when he talks about gun violence, it shows the president remains prisoner to the gun lobby," especially the National Rifle Association.

Asked about prospects Monday, McConnell spokesman David Popp said he'd "be sure to forward" any additional statements from the GOP leader.

Lawmakers are now on recess for summer, but Schumer, D-N.Y., and other Democrats called for an emergency session to consider the gun violence legislation.

"We should ban the assault weapons, and we should ban the large magazines," says Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. "We should have a federal anti-gun trafficking law as well as universal background checks."

Rep. Tim Ryan, of Ohio, says people in Dayton were enraged.

"People in Washington and the state capitals need to get their act together," says Ryan.

Politicians and advocates on Long Island are also weighing in on the debate.

Rep. Peter King of Seaford says the issue isn't just about gun regulation. He wants to see mental health research included.

"It has to be put together and we have to stand together and not just be literally taking shots at each another," King said.

A group of women from Long Island called "Moms Demand Action" say they are outraged.

The group was formed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 and is demanding stronger gun safety legislation.

"If we could get stronger common sense gun safety legislation, we wouldn't have to live in fear," said Melissa Gallo. "Nobody should have to live in fear."

The House and Senate are scheduled to be out until September.

McConnell's office says he is working from home after he tripped and fractured his shoulder.

___

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

 

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