Sep 11, 2019

Democrats step up pressure for Republicans to act on gun control

House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jerry Nadler speaks to members of the press. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Democrats increased pressure on Republicans Tuesday to act on gun control, advancing new measures and sending a letter to Sen. Mitch McConnell. But McConnell made clear after meeting with President Trump on the issue that the decision rests with Trump, ABC News reports.

Why it matters: Gun violence has become a hot-button issue after August's mass shootings in El Paso, Dayton and the West Texas sister cities of Odessa and Midland. Per Reuters, there's a coordinated Democratic strategy to press McConnell to allow a vote on gun control bills.

What's happening: The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines Tuesday evening to approve a red-flag bill and a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines for consideration by the full House, along with legislation to prohibit people convicted of violent hate crime misdemeanors from possessing firearms, Reuters notes.

What they're saying: House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler said in a statement that Democrats had not acted simply to respond to mass shootings.

"[W]e are acting because of the urgent need to respond to the daily toll of gun violence in our communities, whether they are mass shootings or not and whether or not they make national headlines."

The big picture: The Democratic-controlled House has passed 2 gun control measures this year that would strengthen background checks. McConnell has yet to bring either to the Senate floor.

The other side: Per Reuters, Republicans pledged during Tuesday's debate to support "sensible" legislation on guns but denounced the Democratic bills as fatally flawed and a risk to gun owners' Second Amendment rights.

  • Trump met with House and Senate Republican leaders and Attorney General Bill Barr at the White House in the afternoon to discuss gun control measures as well as efforts to better enforce existing laws, the Washington Examiner reports.
  • The president was conducting "good faith" conversations with Republicans and Democrats, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said, adding no specifics were discussed at the meeting, per the Examiner.
  • The White House would deliver a plan to Congress that Trump would agree to sign, McConnell said, according to the Examiner.
"My members know the very simple fact that to make a law you have to have a presidential signature."
— McConnell to reporters

Go deeper

Where 2020 Democrats stand on gun control

Warren and Biden on the debate stage on Jan. 14. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced a new gun reform bill on Thursday with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) that calls for raising the minimum age for all gun purchases to 21 and increasing the excise tax on gun sales to 30% and ammunition sales to 50%.

The big picture: 2019's mass shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Virginia Beach; and near Odessa, Texas, have pushed 2020 Democrats to take harder stances on gun control than in the last presidential election, when Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton only briefly addressed the issue in their primary debate.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Schumer dismisses O'Rourke's assault weapon buyback proposal

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday that Beto O'Rourke's proposed assault weapon buyback program is unrepresentative of Democratic views, according to Albany's Times Union.

Why it matters: Schumer's dismissal of O'Rourke's proposal signals that some top Democrats are concerned that it could derail ongoing talks about gun control legislation and may allow Republicans to claim during the 2020 election cycle that Democrats intend to take Americans' guns away.

Go deeperArrowSep 19, 2019

Gun control group to spend $550K on digital ads targeting Va. races

Advocates of gun reform legislation hold a candlelight vigil for victims of recent mass shootings. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the biggest gun safety advocacy groups in the U.S., is launching a $550,000 digital ad campaign targeting 15 Republican-held Virginia House and Senate districts — seats the group aims to flip this year, Everytown told Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The likelihood of federal gun control measures passing in Congress this year is slipping away, as attention has shifted to impeachment proceedings. But given the series of horrific mass shootings over the past few years, gun control remains a leading issue in 2019 and 2020 elections.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019