Democrats renew push for universal background checks

Washington-DC

WASHINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) — With Congress back in session, Democrats say the first item on their agenda is gun control.

“This is our chance,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said at a Monday press conference on Capitol Hill. “This is our chance for the Senate to do something this week.”

But as with similar pushes in the past, it looks like an uphill battle.

In February, the Democrat-controlled House passed a bill that would require universal background checks, closing loopholes they say have allowed dangerous men to get guns. They hope that back-to-back mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, in early August and growing public support can push Republican President Donald Trump to back the plan and call for a vote in the GOP-led Senate.

“I don’t want any community to go through what Dayton went through,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said during the press conference. “Gilroy, Virginia Beach, Dayton, El Paso, Odessa and Midland, just since February. What’s going to happen next week or the week after?”

“I’m here on behalf of the citizens of Dayton who called us that night to do something. This is something that can be done, can be fast and will save lives,” she continued.

Eight House Republicans were on board with Democrats’ bill, but it has been stalled in the Senate, where support is shaky. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called it a “show vote” that won’t save lives.

“Are you suggesting we ought to pass a law just to pretend we’re doing something?” he said on the Senate floor Monday.

Trump has not been clear about which measures he would support and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, D-Ky., said he’ll only call a vote if he gets an OK from the president.

Democrats say Republicans can’t keep waiting.

“Americans are dying,” Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said. “It is clear that we need action now.”

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