Gun debate: Here are the proposals that Congress is considering

Gun debate: Here are the proposals that Congress is considering


Lawmakers are offering a range of measures to respond to the Florida high school shooting last month that left 17 people dead.

Despite the flurry sparked by President TrumpBarrettDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump in survey of Texas voters from left-leaning pollster On The Trail: Making sense of Super Poll Sunday Trump rebukes FBI for investigating supporters accused of harassing Biden bus MORE’s call for new legislation, there’s no sign of a bill that can pass both chambers.

But that hasn’t stopped members from outlining a number of options.

Here’s a look at the competing proposals.

Fix NICS Act

This bill is aimed at bolstering records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and was introduced after a shooting last year in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

It has gained new momentum, but also new opposition, since the shooting in Parkland, Fla.

The bill enforces existing laws by ensuring that authorities report criminal records to the system and penalizing agencies that don’t.

Despite its bipartisan origins — it was introduced by Sens. John CornynChairJohn CornynBiden leads Trump in survey of Texas voters from left-leaning pollster More veterans running for office as numbers dwindle in Congress The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Pollsters stir debate over Trump numbers MORE (R-Texas) and Chris MurphyChris Scott MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Democrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation Democrats brace for nail-biting finish to Senate battle MORE (D-Conn.) — Democrats have rejected the bill as too narrow.

Manchin-Toomey

The 2013 background check bill got a burst of new life after President Trump suggested it be used as the base for Congress’s new gun push.

The legislation spearheaded by Sens. Joe ManchinCongressJoseph (Joe) ManchinBitter fight over Barrett fuels calls to nix filibuster, expand court Democratic Senate emerges as possible hurdle for progressives  Susan Collins and the American legacy MORE (D-W.Va.) and Pat ToomeyHeidi Heitkamp Mary Heidi Kathryn HeitkampPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyAppeals court rules NSA’s bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy MORE (R-Pa.) in the weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting failed to overcome a filibuster, mostly by Republicans.

Five Democrats also opposed it, but only one, Sen. Heidi HeitkampJoe Manchin Patrick PatMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWhy it’s time for a majority female Cabinet The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by JobsOhio – Showdown: Trump-Biden debate likely to be nasty Senate Democrats want to avoid Kavanaugh 2.0 MORE (D-N.D.), remains in the Senate. She is up for reelection this fall.

The legislation would have expanded background checks for internet and gun show sales, while also including exemptions for friends and family.

Toomey told The Associated Press that he spoke on the phone with Trump, who was supportive of using Manchin-Toomey as the “core legislative vehicle.”

But the bill would likely face an uphill battle.

Twelve Democrats who supported the legislation are no longer in the Senate and half of them were replaced by Republicans.

Background checks:

Senate Democrats are demanding more extensive background checks on gun purchases.

Sen. Charles SchumerJohn Cornyn ChristopherChuck SchumerDemocrats on edge as Biden-Trump fight nears end Reestablishing American prosperity by investing in the ‘Badger Belt’ House Democrats introduce bill to invest 0 billion in STEM research and education MORE (D-N.Y.), outlining his caucus’s three-part plan, said Trump should “at a minimum” support closing “loopholes” by requiring background checks for all firearms sold at gun shows or over the internet.

“I think the president knows he could show real leadership by bucking the [National Rifle Association], providing cover for his Republicans and getting something actually done,” he told reporters.

Schumer didn’t say if Democrats would offer Manchin-Toomey as their background check legislation or file a separate piece of legislation.

A Quinnipiac University poll released late last month found that 97 percent of Americans — including 97 percent of gun owners and 97 percent of Republicans — support requiring a background check on every gun sale.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Friday that the president is “not necessarily” pushing for “universal” background checks.  

“Certainly improving the background check system. He wants to see what that legislation, the final piece of it looks like,” she told reporters.

School safety

Trump has homed in on school safety following the shooting, saying campuses should be “hardened.”

“These include allowing people with a certified training, very talented people, to carry firearms,” Trump said during this week’s White House meeting with lawmakers.

While getting Congress to pass funding for his idea appears unlikely, lawmakers are offering, or preparing to offer, their own school safety legislation.

Republican senators, led by Sen. Orrin HatchJoseph ToomeyOrrin Grant HatchMellman: What happened after Ginsburg? Bottom line Bottom line MORE (Utah), are expected to introduce legislation that would increase funding for Justice Department school violence prevention grants.

Meanwhile, Sen. Marco RubioNorth DakotaMarco Antonio RubioIntercept co-founder Jeremy Scahill says long-term damage is already done even if Trump loses Wisconsin GOP says hackers stole .3M Hillicon Valley: Big Tech hearing the most partisan yet | Rubio warns about foreign election interference | Trump campaign site briefly hacked MORE (R-Fla.), arguing federal law “appears to discourage school systems from reporting dangerous students to law enforcement,” said he would introduce legislation to try to cut down on the delay.

In the House, Rep. Kay GrangerRepublican PartyNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerBottom line GOP women’s group rolls out six-figure campaign for Ernst Bottom line MORE (R-Texas) is offering legislation that would encourage local school districts to buy and install metal detectors.

And Rep. Roger WilliamsTexasJohn (Roger) Roger WilliamsBiden endorses Texas Democratic House candidate Julie Oliver Warren, Porter to headline progressive fundraiser supporting seven swing state candidates The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Yoho apologizes for accosting AOC MORE (R-Texas) introduced legislation that would allow the Department of Education to create a grant for school districts to be able to conduct independent security assessments.

Assault weapons ban

House and Senate Democrats are pushing for a ban on assault weapons following the Florida shooting — a move supported by the party’s base but unlikely to pass Congress.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinBarrettDianne Emiel FeinsteinPence seeks to lift GOP in battle for Senate McConnell and Schumer’s relationship shredded after court brawl Murkowski predicts Barrett won’t overturn Roe v. Wade MORE (D-Calif.) raised the issue during the White House meeting and was openly giddy when Trump appeared open to including it in a broad bill.

A recent assault weapons ban bill won over 27 Senate Democrats, including Democratic Sens. Kirsten GillibrandChairKirsten GillibrandOcasio-Cortez says she doesn’t plan on ‘staying in the House forever’ Internal Democratic poll: Desiree Tims gains on Mike Turner in Ohio House race Hillicon Valley: Facebook, Twitter’s handling of New York Post article raises election night concerns | FCC to move forward with considering order targeting tech’s liability shield | YouTube expands polices to tackle QAnon MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisChris Scott MurphyKamala HarrisBiden begins two-day campaign sprint in battleground Pennsylvania Trump praises Texas supporters who surrounded Biden-Harris bus FBI investigating Biden bus surrounded by pro-Trump cars: report MORE (Calif.), Cory BookerCongressCory Anthony BookerDemocratic senators unveil bill to ban discrimination in financial services industry Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE (N.J.), as well as Sen. Bernie SandersHeidi Heitkamp Mary Heidi Kathryn HeitkampBernie SandersTrump’s ego defeating him, Biden not so much A wave election? Or a fundamental realigning of American politics? Key ballot measures to watch on state taxes MORE (I-Vt.) — all viewed as potential 2020 contenders.

Most of the House Democratic Caucus is backing similar legislation.

Minimum age  

Sens. Jeff FlakeJoe Manchin Patrick PatJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeWhy it’s time for a majority female Cabinet Why Maricopa County will choose the next president Trump fights for battleground Arizona MORE (R-Ariz.) and Feinstein introduced legislation less than an hour after the White House meeting that would raise the minimum age for buying an assault rifle from 18 to 21.

The suspect in the Florida shooting, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is said to have used an AR-15, which gun control proponents say is a form of an assault weapon. Many gun rights supporters disagree with that view.

Trump encouraged lawmakers to strongly consider the issue, though Sanders acknowledged that Trump “knows there’s not a lot of broad support for that.”

GOP Rep. Thomas MassieJohn Cornyn ChristopherThomas Harold MassieHouse in near-unanimous vote affirms peaceful transfer of power Ron Paul hospitalized in Texas GOP lawmaker praises Kyle Rittenhouse’s ‘restraint’ for not emptying magazine during shooting MORE (Ky.) has introduced a bill that would lower the minimum age for buying a handgun from 21 to 18.

Bump stocks

Lawmakers are pushing forward with formal legislation to ban bump stocks even as Trump said he would “quickly” sign an executive order making the gun attachment illegal.

The device allows a semi-automatic weapon to function similarly to an automatic weapon, with multiple rounds fired with the single pull of a trigger.

Flake and Democratic Sens. Martin HeinrichJoseph ToomeyMartin Trevor HeinrichBottom line Senate Democrats demand White House fire controversial head of public lands agency Senate Democrats seek removal of controversial public lands head after nomination withdrawal MORE (N.M.) and Catherine Cortez MastoNorth DakotaCatherine Marie Cortez MastoCortez Masto’s public lands giveaway greenwash Democratic Senate campaign arm outraises GOP counterpart in September Hillicon Valley: DOJ proposes tech liability shield reform to Congress | Treasury sanctions individuals, groups tied to Russian malign influence activities | House Republican introduces bill to set standards for self-driving cars MORE (Nev.) introduced the bill. Sen. Chuck GrassleyRepublican PartyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyBarrett confirmation stokes Democrats’ fears over ObamaCare On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless benefits Grassley: Voters should be skeptical of Biden’s pledge to not raise middle class taxes MORE (R-Iowa) separately said he is open to passing legislation if the Trump administration’s current effort to ban them through regulation fails.

A bump stock wasn’t used in the Florida shooting. But they came onto the nation’s radar after they were reportedly used during a shooting at a concert in Las Vegas where 56 people were killed.

“Red flags”

Both Rubio and Schumer have pointed to allowing law enforcement or close family members to use a court order to temporarily block an individual deemed dangerous from being able to buy or posses a gun as a priority.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Lindsey GrahamTexasLindsey Olin GrahamSenate candidates focus closing arguments on health care, experience Sunday shows preview: The final push to Election Day Ocasio-Cortez responds to Lindsey Graham debate swipe: You folded ‘like a wet napkin’ MORE (R-S.C.) also said they are working on “red flag” legislation. The two senators are expected to introduce their bill next week.

“Our government encourages our citizens that if you see something, say something. We also need ‘do something,’ ” Graham said in a statement.  

Straw purchases

Cracking down on straw purchases, when an individual who can pass a background check buys a gun for someone who can’t, appears to have support from across the Senate’s political spectrum.

Rubio said he is working on legislation that would provide more resources for prosecutors to go after the individuals who buy the gun. And Sanders name-dropped the issue during his floor speech outlining how Congress should respond to the Florida shooting.

Meanwhile, GOP Sen. Susan CollinsBarrettSusan Margaret CollinsSenate battle threatens to spill into overtime Ginsburg’s granddaughter cuts election ad for progressive group: ‘Make her voice heard at the ballot box’ Susan Collins says systemic racism isn’t ‘a problem’ in Maine MORE (Maine) and Democratic Sen. Patrick LeahyChairPatrick Joseph LeahyWorking together to effectively address patient identification during COVID-19 Schumer says he had ‘serious talk’ with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Durbin says he will run for No. 2 spot if Dems win Senate majority MORE (Vt.) introduced legislation last year that would make such gun purchases a stand-alone criminal offense. 





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