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Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer hold press conference on gun violence and background check bill

Dems push for gun control upon return to D.C.

On Monday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi held a press conference with leaders of the Democratic Party and Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley calling on the Senate to act on an ambitious gun violence agenda. Pelosi and Whaley were joined by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Democratic Senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Democratic Congressional Representatives Veronica Escobar of Texas and Mike Thompson of California were also in attendance. 

Lawmakers hope to gain support for a Senate vote on House Resolution 8, or HR 8, a bipartisan bill that would require background checks for private gun sales — including those from gun shows and made over the internet — and would close loopholes for certain kinds of gun sales. The push comes in the wake of recent shootings in Texas and Dayton.

The Democratic-controlled House passed H.R. 8 in February in a 240-190 vote, with eight Republicans and all but two Democrats supporting it. It's been stalled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ever since.

"I've talked to Leader Schumer, I've talked to Leader McConnell about getting something done," Pelosi said Monday. "There is not anyone in this institution or in this walk of life whose political survival is more important than the survival of those in our communities." 

"Background checks are the base from which we must do anything," Schumer said on Monday. "Two people in Washington can decide if the background check bill passes: Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. It is totally up to them and is on their shoulders. They can't escape that responsibility." 

Before speaking to reporters on Monday, Pelosi and Schumer sent a letter to Donald Trump asking him to support their efforts at passing some kind of gun control legislation. According to The New York Times, Pelosi and Schumer told the president "urgent, personal intervention is needed to stem the endless massacres of our fellow Americans by gunfire" and that he had a "historic opportunity to save lives." 

"We implore you to seize this moment when your leadership and influence over Republicans in Congress on the issue of guns is so critical," they wrote in the letter. "Please do not squander it by acceding to NRA-backed proposals or other weak ideas that will do nothing to stop the continuing, horrific spread of gun violence and may, in some cases, actually make our communities less safe."

Whaley also spoke at the press conference. The Dayton, Ohio mayor gained national attention in the wake of the deadly shooting in Dayton on August 4 that left nine people dead and 27 injured.   

"We have come, mayors across the country, have come to get one thing done: That is to get an up and down vote on H.R. 8," Whaley said on Monday. "I don't know anything else that nine out of ten Americans agree on other than H.R. 8. This is something that can be done fast and can save lives." 

CBS News polling shows that, since 2014, more than half of Americans have consistently backed stricter gun laws. A 2018 poll found 75% of Americans and 66% of Republicans favor stronger background checks.

"There's no reason to delay. We need to do something now," added Brown.

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