Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and GOP Rep. Peter King, both from New York, spoke in support of bipartisan universal background check legislation Tuesday morning. The legislation passed in the House, but has been stalled in the Senate.
Schumer and King argue that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is personally responsible for blocking the legislation from being considered in the Senate, as he has not brought it to the Senate floor for debate or for a vote.
Schumer and King spoke in a Walmart parking lot on Long Island, New York. The event comes two days after 22 peoplein a Walmart and the parking lot of an El Paso, Texas shopping mall. Hours later, nine people were killed in a shooting .
"The Walmart was in El Paso, but it really could have been anywhere in America. Even here," Schumer said Tuesday. He noted that more people were killed in Dayton and El Paso than American soldiers killed in Afghanistan in 2017 and 2018 combined.
"We're saying to Mitch McConnell: do the right thing," Schumer said, urging the Senate majority leader to call an emergency session to pass the bill passed in the House.
"This should not be in any way a partisan issue," said King, a Republican and friend of President Trump. He said that the only people who would be affected by this bill are convicted criminals and people who have been adjudicated to be mentally ill.
"I believe it's essential that Senator McConnell allows it to come to a vote. He doesn't have to support it," King said. "It's common sense legislation."
King said it was necessary to pass the bill "when you have an issue where 90% of the American people want it done, and the American people are literally crying" over what happened over the weekend. He called for going "over the heads" of the National Rifle Association to get the legislation passed.
King also urged Mr. Trump to publicly announce his support for background checks, saying it would be akin to a "Nixon going to China" moment.
In February, the Democratic-controlled House approved the bill requiring federal background checks for all gun sales, including at gun shows, following a string of mass shootings. A companion bill, also passed by the House, would allow for more time for sellers to receive background check results on potential customers.
The legislation has become a rallying cry for Democrats who say more background checks could help prevent future tragedies. Schumer cited the House-backed legislation as grounds for calling the Senate back to Washington for an emergency session.
"Leader McConnell, do the right thing," Schumer said on Sunday. "Call an emergency session. Wherever the senators are. Put the House bill on the floor, and it will pass. And the president, my guess is, will have no choice but to sign it. And maybe we can do something to begin dealing with gun laws in a rational way."
In a tweet Monday, Mr. Trump urged Congress to consider passing background check legislation. "Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform," Mr. Trump tweeted. "We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!" he added.
However,, Mr. Trump did not call for stricter background checks. He urged Congress to find "bipartisan solutions," and reiterated his support for "red flag" laws to keep guns out of the hands of people who appear to pose an imminent threat.