Chuck Schumer Signals Fall Senate Focus on Gun Control

enate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., explains to reporters how his negotiations with President Donald Trump broke down yesterday as quarreling politicians in Washington eventually failed to keep their government in business, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) signaled Thursday gun control will be one of his top priorities in the next few months.

To that end, he is sending a letter to Democrats and urging them to push universal background checks and other related measures, according to a letter obtained by Politico.

Schumer is actively urging fellow Democrats to place pressure on Republicans in the Senate – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), specifically – to take action on gun control measures.

“President Trump and Senate Republicans have failed to act on the issue of gun violence, bowing repeatedly to the NRA and the hard right by choosing inaction or half-measures over real, meaningful legislation,” Schumer wrote in his missive, according to Politico.

“Comprehensive, evidence-based solutions, like updating our laws to require background checks for all gun sales, must be a part of any congressional action to curb gun violence,” he added.

Democrats have been pushing for gun control legislation following the deadly shootings in El Paso, Dayton, and the Midland-Odessa region. Republicans have expressed doubt that the left’s solutions – universal background checks and bans on “assault” weapons – would make any significant impact on curbing violent crime. However, McConnell has signaled a willingness to bring a bill to the floor on one condition: It must have the president’s support.

“I said several 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’d be happy to put it on the floor,” McConnell told radio host Hugh Hewitt.

He continued:

And the administration is in the process of studying what they are prepared to support, if anything. And I expect to get an answer to that next week. If the President is in favor of a number of things that he has discussed openly and publicly, and I know that if we pass it it’ll become law, I’ll put it on the floor.

McConnell previewed the upcoming challenges last month, telling the Terry Meiners Show that gun control measures – an assault weapons ban, specifically – would be a “front and center” Senate issue in the fall.

Trump has indicated that he is more inclined to support a measure that has “something having to do with mental illness” rather than universal background checks, which would have done little to curb most mass shootings, Trump assessed.

“If you look at some of — even the more severe and comprehensive ideas that are being put forward, it wouldn’t have stopped any of the last few years’ worth of these mass shootings,” Trump told reporters Wednesday.

“I’ve been having a lot of phone discussions and some meetings with different people in the Senate and the House of Representatives and we’ll be making some pretty good determinations pretty soon,” the president said.

“We’re in touch with a lot of different people; there are many proposals put forward — I heard 29 different proposals, so there’s no lack of proposals, so we’ll have to see what happens,” he continued.

Schumer added Senate Democrats “must work to increase pressure on Leader McConnell to stop burying bills he doesn’t like in his graveyard and to get the Senate working again by actually debating and voting on legislation to address our nation’s greatest challenges.”

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