Encouraged by President Donald Trump’s comments supporting gun control during his meeting with bipartisan lawmakers Wednesday, Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have introduced a three-part plan that would ban assault weapons and strengthen background checks, The Hill reports.
The senator had praise for Trump’s tough talk during the meeting:
“I’m sure many of you in this room, and many Americans around the country, watched the President’s meeting on gun violence yesterday and were rather stunned and surprised — many of us pleasantly — by what we saw,” he said during a press conference Thursday. “I’d like to give credit where due: the president said a lot of things right yesterday.”
“He seemed to strongly endorse universal background checks,” Schumer observed, “and to ensure that people who shouldn’t have access to a gun, shouldn’t have one.”
But Schumer hopes Trump will stick to his guns (figuratively speaking) and “buck” the NRA to support the plan. He has asked the President to support the assault weapons ban, something that isn’t supported by Republican Senate leaders.
“Today I am strongly urging the president to follow through on his comments yesterday by endorsing these proposals and pushing Republican leaders in Congress to once and for all buck the NRA,” he said. “If the president can get some Republicans to vote for the assault weapons ban … we can pass it soon.”
But Schumer (D-N.Y.) also acknowledged that some Democrats may not be on board with the “comprehensive three-part plan.”
As outlined by the senator, the plan proposes that the issue of banning assault weapons be openly debated in the Senate, and that’s apparently creating controversy.
“We believe there should be a debate on assault weapons on the floor of the Senate,” Schumer told journalists. “Not every member of our caucus will support that ban but the vast majority will.”
But even though Trump seemingly voiced support for including a ban as part of the Senate’s legislation during the meeting Wednesday, The Hill notes that it’s unlikely that such a ban could get the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate.
And the White House has previously denounced an assault weapons ban, which is, of course (what else is new?), also opposed by the NRA.
But banning assault weapons isn’t the only part of the plan, according to Slate. The Democrats also want to close loopholes long left open in regards to universal background checks. Specifically, Schumer wants to close loopholes that allow people to forego background checks when they buy guns at gun shows or online.
“Not having background checks at gun shows is like checking ID’s at the liquor store, but not at the bar,” he noted.
In the third part of the measure, Democrats also hope to establish protective orders that would allow people to petition that weapons be temporarily removed from someone who appears dangerous to themselves or others.
Earlier this week, when another assault weapons ban was introduced, Democrats were split up the middle, with Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Corey Booker (D-N.J.), all of whom are considered viable 2020 presidential candidates, supporting the legislation.
Which may be one reason why Schumer said:
“If the president works the room, meaning the Senate, we can get this done.”
“The NRA has had the Republican Party in a headlock for decades. Only a president, this president, will have the power to overcome their strength and finally get his Republican allies on the Hill to move to a place that embraces some common sense gun safety policies,” he said.
“If the president steps up to the plate, he’ll deserve credit and we’ll give it to him.”
But as the Senate prepared to leave for the week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the press the Senate won’t be voting on guns the following week.
Here are a few highlights of Schumer’s press conference in the video below:
Featured image by The Associated Press via YouTube video