Congressional Democrats vow to prioritize gun legislation

Sen. Mitch Mc Connell speaks during a news briefing Sept. 10 2019 at the Capitol in Washington DC

Alex Wong Getty Images Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch Mc Connell speaks during a news briefing Sept. 10 2019 at the Capitol in Washington DC

McConnell refuses to allow a vote on a House-passed bill to expand background checks for gun purchases because he says it's not clear the Senate would be able to pass the legislation or that Trump would sign it into law.

A bipartisan group of three USA senators on Wednesday said they were attempting to revive legislation that failed in 2013 to close loopholes on the law requiring gun sale background checks, but were awaiting word on whether President Donald Trump will support their effort.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is pictured at a Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) ceremony in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on September 10, 2019. She has slammed Senator Mitch McConnell over stalled gun legislation.

"Lives are at stake", Pelosi told reporters, visibly shaken by questions asking if the House could have done more.

"There is no one thing we can do, but if we can make it harder for unsafe people to get firearms in the first place, maybe we'll save some lives", he said.

The mass murder sparked a long gun control debate in the US Congress that produced a Manchin-Toomey background check bill in the Senate.

"Members had events all over the country to ask him to bring up the bill".

"I'd like to see us apply background checks on all commercial sales so that we can identify people who are in one of those two categories that shouldn't have guns", said Toomey. We have done it. And if you are annoyed with my impatience, it's because people are dying because Senator McConnell hasn't acted.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Sen. "There are people who died".

Newsweek has contacted McConnell's office for comment.

On Tuesday, McConnell did say that White House aides were working on a proposal that the president would sign and that "until that happens, all this is is theatrics".

The majority leader reportedly acknowledges that there is a political benefit to advancing a bipartisan measure following a series of mass shootings this year that has helped bolster public support for gun control.

With a majority of voters favoring background check legislation, Democrats are hoping to underscore the sharp differences between them and Republicans at a time when, according to a new Gallup poll, almost half of Americans worry that they or a family member could become victims of a mass shooting.

Some House Democrats also want to return to an all-out ban on assault-style weapons.

As senators struggle to vote on anything, House Democrats are voting on more and stepped-up ideas, today moving bills through committee to limit high-capacity magazines and support more red flag laws, allowing law enforcement to take weapons from anyone thought to be unsafe.

The White House's legislative director met privately with Republican senators Tuesday to discuss ideas the administration is considering, including so-called red-flag legislation to allow officials to take away guns from people believed to be dangers to themselves or others and quicker imposition of the death penalty for mass shooters. The White House had previously warned it would veto the Housebackground checks bill.

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