Mitch McConnell’s Republican-led Senate began another two-week recess today, once again leaving Capitol Hill without debating gun safety legislation.
The House and Senate will be back in session Oct. 15. But with an election year looming and an impeachment inquiry underway in the House, the chance of legislation moving through the Senate and onto the president’s desk is slim.
In August, in the wake of two mass shootings that left 31 people dead in two states, the Kentucky senator said discussions on background checks and red flag laws would be “front and center.” Unsurprisingly, there has been no movement in his chamber on the issue.
Iowa’s junior U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst has been publicly wary of backing any new gun safety measures, telling her constituents the laws on the books are sufficient, but must be properly enforced. Instead of considering universal background checks or the ability to temporarily confiscate guns from dangerous citizens, Ernst usually pivots to talking about a mental health crisis in America.
Ernst recently attended the Jasper County Republican Trap Shoot donning a Donald Trump “Keep America Great” hat. She told her social media followers the group talked about their 2nd Amendment right in between turns shooting clay pigeons.
“We want to make sure we can protect law abiding citizens’ rights here in the great United States of America,” she said, while holding a hunting rifle.
The Democrat-controlled House in February approved the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019” to expand the type of gun sales subject to background checks, but Senate Majority Leader McConnell has shown no interest in taking it up.
Republican leadership reportedly is waiting on President Trump to hear what he supports before advancing their own legislation, though his position on gun control is constantly in flux.
On Friday, the New York Times reported that Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association, asked Trump to “stop the games” and back off gun control legislation. According to the Times, in the meeting, Trump asked LaPierre for the NRA’s financial support in fighting against the newly launched impeachment inquiry.
In a press conference Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer challenged the president to “prove he can still govern” by approving legislation on universal background checks, according to the New York Daily News.
By Elizabeth Meyer
Photo by Julie Fleming