Chuck Schumer calls on Mitch McConnell to hold emergency session on gun control
In the wake of two deadly mass shootings in a span of just 24 hours, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is imploring his Republican colleague, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to bring lawmakers back to Washington for an emergency session on gun control. Both the House and Senate are currently on their August recess and don't plan to be back in session until after Labor Day.
In a statement released on Sunday, Schumer urged McConnell to call back the Senate and consider a House-passed universal background check law as a first step to addressing the epidemic of mass shootings.
"When President Trump spends more time and energy denouncing Rep. Elijah Cummings and Baltimore than he does denouncing right-wing extremists who often traffic in hate and white nationalism, it shows his priorities are un-American and way off balance," Schumer added, noting Mr. Trump's penchant for attacking Democrats.
McConnell tweeted his own condemnation of the weekend's mass shootings. "Sickening to learn this morning of another mass murder in Dayton, Ohio overnight," he wrote Sunday. "Two horrifying acts of violence in less than 24 hours. We stand with law enforcement as they continue working to keep Americans safe and bring justice."
But there were no signs from the majority leader that he would bring the Senate back to act on gun control. McConnell has not yet brought up two House measures passed earlier this year to expand background checks. And he also broke his shoulder in an accident over the weekend.
In February, the Democratic-controlled House approved a bill requiring background checks be performed on 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 checks on potential customers.
"Leader McConnell, do the right thing," Schumer aid during a Sunday press conference. "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. And not just quaking when the [National Rifle Association] and other extreme groups tell Congress to sit on its hands."
A ban on assault weapons was introduced back in January but has not been voted on in either the House or the Senate. A prior ban, which was enacted in 1994, expired in 2004. While Mr. Trump has expressed support for providing some variety of gun reform in the wake of a string of mass shootings — including his support of the background check bill as well as a more controversial proposal to arm teachers — the president this weekend also placed blame on "mental illness" being the root cause of the two violent attacks.
In El Paso, a gunman killed at least 20 people and injured more than two dozen others inside a Walmart. The massacre carried out by the 21-year-old suspect, who was apprehended by authorities, is being treated as an act of domestic terrorism and a potential hate crime by federal law enforcement. Investigators are probing a racist, anti-immigrant document allegedly authored by the suspect.
The shooting in Dayton, in western Ohio, left nine dead in addition to the gunman, identified by authorities as a 24-year-old white man. Nearly 30 people were also injured in the shooting rampage.
for more features.