In the wake of yet another deadly mass shooting, Democratic leaders have urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to do something about the “gun violence epidemic” in the United States by taking up legislation that would expand federal background checks on gun purchases.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pressed McConnell on Saturday to take action on H.R. 8, also known as the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. The bill — which seeks to close loopholes allowing private or online sales of guns and sales at gun shows without background checks — was passed by the Democratic-controlled House in February.
McConnell has faced mounting pressure from Democratic lawmakers and others to bring the legislation to the Senate floor, but he has yet to do so.
The majority leader “should bring up H.R. 8 the week Congress returns,” Schumer said in a Saturday night tweet, hours after a gunman went on a shooting rampage in West Texas, killing multiple people and injuring at least 21. Three officers were among those who were injured, police said. A 17-month-old baby was also wounded in the attack.
“Enough is enough,” Pelosi said later in a statement. “Every day, the epidemic of gun violence inflicts a devastating toll in communities in every corner of our country, forcing far too many to endure heartbreak and tragedy.”
“The Republican Senate must end its obstruction and finally pass the commonsense, bipartisan, House-passed gun violence prevention legislation that the country is demanding,” she added.
Congress will reconvene on Sept. 9 after its summer recess.
Other Democratic lawmakers, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, also called on McConnell to do more.
“America is done waiting for you,” Warren, a 2020 presidential contender, tweeted.
Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) appealed to McConnell to move on H.R. 8 as well as H.R. 1112, another gun control bill passed by the House in February that would require a gun dealer to wait 10 days to hear back from federal authorities about a potential buyer’s background check before moving ahead with a gun sale.
The hashtag #MassacreMitch started trending on Twitter on Saturday as people called on the senator to take action against gun violence.
The hashtag also went viral in August following back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.