Senators weigh in on gun safety legislation

Senators weigh in on gun safety legislation

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House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) leads a gun control rally on the Capitol steps. (photo by Danielle Wilde)

WASHINGTON – How probable is it that gun safety legislation will gain enough support to pass both the House and Senate and be signed into law by President Donald Trump?

TMN asked lawmakers on Capitol Hill to weigh in.

“I’d say it’s at best a maybe,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said Wednesday.

He added: “My Democratic friends seem to be going in one direction. The White House seems to be going in another. Most of my Republican colleagues are watching and waiting to see where the White House lands and where my Democratic friends land.”

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said Trump’s support is the key to passage.

“That’s very much in the president’s hands. If the president brings forward a proposal that has some support on both sides of the aisle it will get done.”

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) implored Congress to act.

“Congress needs to take up gun safety. This is wrong that we haven’t acted. There’s common sense gun safety legislation that enjoys strong bipartisan support and support of the American people-like universal background checks and dealing with these assault-type military weapons.”

Cardin added: “Whether [Senate Majority] Leader [Mitch] McConnell (R-Ky.) will bring them to the floor and President Trump will give us the leadership-that’s certainly very questionable. But if it’s brought to the floor I’m confident we can pass it.”

The White House is expected to release the framework for its proposal sometime this week.

Last night Senate Democrats kept the upper chamber in session past 10 p.m. to try to force McConnell to allow to a vote on House-passed legislation that would expand background checks for gun purchases.

Both McConnell and Trump oppose the House bill. Moreover, McConnell has said the Senate will not take up any gun safety legislation until the White House clarifies what it will support and Trump gives his blessing.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) spoke with Trump by phone on Sunday about gun safety legislation. Following the call they released a joint statement that said they felt encouraged by the conversation but that Trump did not make any commitments.

The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 passed the House 240-190 in February. It would make firearms transfers between private parties more difficult. Private transfers would for the most part be prohibited unless a background is first performed by a licensed gun dealer, manufacturer or importer. The law would not apply to transfers between spouses.

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