SIOUX CITY, Iowa (Reuters) – Republican Senate chief Mitch McConnell on Thursday rejected a plea from greater than 200 mayors to name the Senate again early to think about new gun laws, following two weekend mass shootings that left 31 individuals lifeless.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell speaks to the information media after the weekly Republican Get together caucus lunch assembly on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., June 25, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
The 214 mayors, together with these of El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which have been the scenes of the weekend massacres, in a letter to the Senate majority chief and Democratic chief Chuck Schumer urged the Senate to vote on laws already authorised by the Home of Representatives increasing background checks for weapons gross sales with out ready for the tip of the Senate’s summer time recess.
“The tragic occasions in El Paso and Dayton this weekend are simply the most recent reminders that our nation can now not await our federal authorities to take the actions mandatory to stop individuals who mustn’t have entry to firearms from having the ability to buy them,” mentioned members of america Convention of Mayors who signed the letter.
McConnell mentioned he has requested for bipartisan discussions on the matter, together with doable restrictions on assault gun gross sales.
“We’re going to have these bipartisan discussions and once we get again (from the recess), hopefully, be capable to come collectively and really go one thing,” McConnell mentioned in an interview with Kentucky radio station WHAS. “I need to make a legislation and never simply see this type of political sparring happening.”
Requested about restrictions on assault weapons, McConnell mentioned, “That may in all probability be mentioned as properly. It’s actually one of many entrance and heart points.” However he mentioned “background checks and purple flags would in all probability lead the discussions.”
Republican President Donald Trump, he mentioned, “could be very a lot open to this dialogue.”
Crimson flag legal guidelines enable courts and native legislation enforcement to take away weapons from people who find themselves deemed to current an imminent threat of hazard to communities.
Throughout a marketing campaign cease in Sioux Metropolis, Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris referred to as on McConnell to deliver the Senate again and maintain a vote on the laws.
“It’s properly throughout the energy and the duty of america Congress to behave in the perfect curiosity of the security and properly being of the American individuals,” Harris mentioned. “And Congress, from my perspective, has been feckless on this problem and the remainder of society is paying a value.”
One other presidential candidate, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, mentioned there are sufficient votes within the Senate “to get one thing executed.”
“We’re not even being referred to as again in session to get one thing executed as if the clock will not be ticking earlier than we have now one other mass capturing in America,” mentioned Booker, throughout a marketing campaign cease in Aventura, Florida.
NRA CITES AN “INCONVENIENT TRUTH”
The Nationwide Rifle Affiliation (NRA), a key donor to many Republican senators, indicated in an announcement on Thursday it should oppose any additional gun restrictions.
“I’m not inclined to debate personal conversations with President Trump or different key leaders on this problem,” the NRA’s chief govt, Wayne LaPierre, mentioned in an announcement.
“However I can verify that the NRA opposes any laws that unfairly infringes upon the rights of law-abiding residents,” he mentioned. “The inconvenient reality is that this: the proposals being mentioned by many wouldn’t have prevented the horrific tragedies in El Paso and Dayton.”
The Democratic-led Home in February handed a invoice calling for common background checks for gun consumers. The measure would shut loopholes which have allowed some gross sales over the web and at gun reveals to be finalized with out background checks.
A second invoice additionally handed by the Home in February would lengthen to 10 enterprise days, from the present three, the period of time for the background checks if data on a gun sale utility is incomplete.
Neither has been taken up by the Republican-controlled Senate. The White Home earlier this yr floated veto threats in opposition to each payments. On Wednesday, Trump mentioned he needed to strengthen background checks for gun purchases as he left the White Home to go to Dayton and El Paso.
“The Republicans are held by the throat by the NRA,” Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren informed a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Wednesday evening. “Sufficient is sufficient.”
The mayors, together with El Paso’s Dee Margo, a Republican, and Dayton’s Nan Whaley, a Democrat, urged early voting on the 2 background checks payments, mentioning that america has had 250 mass shootings to this point in 2019.
“That is frequent sense gun laws that the huge, overwhelming majority of Individuals assist,” Whaley mentioned throughout a name with reporters on Thursday. “All we’re asking is for Congress to do their job to assist our communities be extra protected.”
Amongst those that signed the letter have been the mayors of Orlando, Florida, the place 49 individuals have been killed at a nightclub in June 2016; Parkland, Florida, the place 17 have been massacred in a highschool in February 2018; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the place 11 individuals have been slain in a synagogue in October 2018; and Annapolis, Maryland, the place 5 individuals have been killed at a newspaper workplace in June 2018.
Two Democratic mayors who’re working for president additionally signed the letter: Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, and New York Metropolis’s Invoice de Blasio.
The NRA accused U.S. presidential candidates of utilizing the shootings for political achieve.
“Sadly, aspiring presidential candidates instantly took to the airwaves this previous weekend to politicize these tragedies, and to demonize the NRA and its 5 million law-abiding members,” the gun rights foyer mentioned.
Further reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York and Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Enhancing by Frank McGurty, Invoice Berkrot and Leslie Adler