Sep 1, 2019

Pelosi, Schumer urge Senate GOP to act on gun control after Texas shootings

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Washington, D.C., in July. Photo Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to the drive-by mass shooting in West Texas by calling on the Senate to vote on gun control legislation.

Context: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has yet to bring a vote on 2 background check bills that passed the House over 5 months ago.

The two bills:

  • H.R. 8 would require background checks for all firearm sales, including those sold at gun shows and online.
  • H.R. 1112, spearheaded by Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), would "extend the background check review period deadline from three to 10 business days." Clyburn contends that this bill would close the "Charleston loophole" that mass shooter Dylann Roof used to obtain his firearm in 2015.

What they're saying: Schumer tweeted that McConnell should "bring up H.R. 8 the week Congress returns," as he paid tribute to those affected by Saturday afternoon's shootings near Midland and Odessa in Texas.

Go deeper: After Texas shooting, 2020 Democrats push for gun control measures

Go deeper

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.

Go deeperArrowSep 11, 2019

After Texas shootings, 2020 Democrats push for gun control measures

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks during the 2020 Public Service Forum hosted in Las Vegas. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidates joined fellow 2020 hopeful Beto O’Rourke in speaking of the need for gun control on Saturday following a second mass shooting in Texas in August.

"Don’t know what the motivation is, do not yet know the firearms that were used or how they acquired them, but we do know this is f**ked up. We do know that this has to stop in this country. There is no reason that we have to accept this as our fortune, as our future, as our fate, and yet functionally right now we have. ... To have a Congress that will not ... even pass universal background checks or close those loopholes that allow people to buy a firearm when they should not be able to."
— Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke at an event in Fairfax Station, Virginia
Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 1, 2019

West Texas shooter reportedly purchased firearm through private sale

Police cars and tape block off a crime scene near to where a gunman was shot and killed at Cinergy Odessa movie theater in Odessa, Texas, following a mass shooting in the area. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Authorities tell ABC News and other media outlets that the gunman who killed 7 people and injured 22 others in a drive-by mass shooting in the West Texas sister cities of Odessa and Midland on Saturday afternoon obtained his firearm through a private sale.

Why it matters: The suspect, 36-year-old Seth Aaron Ator of Odessa, had tried to buy a firearm in January 2014 but was denied, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a statement Tuesday. The agency said it could not legally disclose why, but a law enforcement official told AP it was due to a "mental health issue." The revelation is sure to drive the political debate over closing background check loopholes like the one that allows private vendors to sell weapons without asking about the buyer's legal status.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Sep 3, 2019