Senate's top Democrat wants Congress to pass universal background checks in response to Parkland

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Monday that it would be an "abject failure and dereliction of duty" if al...

Posted: Feb 27, 2018 6:54 AM
Updated: Feb 27, 2018 6:54 AM

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned Monday that it would be an "abject failure and dereliction of duty" if all Congress approves in the wake of another mass shooting is a bill that would improve the nation's background check system, complicating the prospects for Congress passing any legislation.

Schumer, a longtime gun control advocate, said that "at a minimum," Congress should enact "universal background checks" for gun purchases in the wake of the shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut reintroduced a bill to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Schumer stated Monday that passing that proposal is not enough, calling for a more in-depth background check process -- and showing just how difficult it is for anything in Congress related to guns to advance.

RELATED: 5 things Congress could do on guns

"Democrats are pleased to hear that the president recognizes the need to strengthen the Fix NICS bill. If all Congress does in response to the Parkland shooting is to pass the Fix NICS bill, it would be an abject failure and a dereliction of our duty," Schumer said in a statement

"Democrats believe that, at a minimum, the Congressional response to the Parkland shooting should include universal background check legislation that would close the gun show and internet sales loopholes that allow guns to fall into the wrong hands," he added.

Schumer's comments came as Congress returns to work following a weeklong recess. While it was away, the shooting, which was carried out by a former student with an AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle, dominated the national debate.

Bipartisan lawmakers -- along with President Donald Trump -- said they wanted to take legislative action to respond to the tragedy but there are deep divisions between the parties about how far reaching that legislation should be.

Many Republicans oppose the broader background checks Schumer is calling for and a similar effort was defeated in 2013 following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut when it was part of a bill that would have also banned assault weapons and limited magazine capacity. Several Democrats also voted against that bill.

Democrats would have the votes to block the Fix NICS bill if they banded together and insisted it not pass without universal background checks included. But it's not clear if they will choose to do that because it could mean nothing passes Congress.

Senate Democrats will caucus Tuesday at their weekly policy lunch and may reach a consensus on a path forward at that time.

The bipartisan Fix NICS bill is one of the leading proposals under discussion by Trump and lawmakers following the Florida shooting. It has already passed the House, although it was tied to a controversial conceal-carry measure that Senate Democrats oppose. Fix NICS would encourage states and federal agencies, including the military, to improve compliance with reporting information to NICS about people who should be disqualified from buying guns.

The other proposals deal with raising the minimum age from 18 to 21 to be able to buy a rifle -- something Trump seems to have embraced even though some Republican lawmakers and the powerful National Rifle Association oppose the idea -- as well as legislation banning bump fire stocks, the accessory that allows a semiautomatic weapon to fire more like an automatic weapon. Trump and the NRA also have said they oppose these devices but there is a debate over whether they should be banned legislatively or through a rule-making process carried out by the administration.

RELATED: Four huge obstacles for Congress to do something on gun control

"It is our hope that Republican leaders will help pass real legislation that makes a difference, rather than NRA-backed bills that make Republicans feel better without meaningfully addressing the issue of gun safety," Schumer said. "We can't afford a bill that is simply aimed at pleasing the NRA but doesn't get the job done, we need real results."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 94021

Reported Deaths: 2846
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6979155
DeSoto542555
Harrison374372
Jackson339967
Madison321286
Rankin319375
Lee261067
Jones242778
Forrest239570
Washington218171
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Lauderdale2007124
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Lamar163534
Neshoba1540103
Panola144527
Sunflower142144
Lowndes140357
Warren138150
Leflore137080
Pontotoc123616
Pike121348
Monroe118965
Scott116425
Copiah116333
Coahoma112827
Holmes109258
Marshall107615
Lincoln106853
Grenada106235
Yazoo103929
Simpson101443
Union97824
Tate95537
Leake94037
Adams92136
Wayne87721
Pearl River86750
Marion84133
Prentiss81517
Covington80922
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Newton75923
Tallahatchie75718
George75113
Winston72519
Tishomingo66137
Chickasaw65624
Tippah64516
Attala64125
Walthall59425
Clay58117
Hancock56421
Jasper55515
Noxubee54315
Clarke53739
Smith52414
Calhoun50612
Tunica48113
Montgomery45520
Claiborne45216
Lawrence42512
Yalobusha41814
Perry40918
Quitman3755
Humphreys37315
Stone35711
Greene34617
Webster33113
Jefferson Davis32811
Carroll31212
Amite31110
Wilkinson30217
Kemper28615
Sharkey26312
Jefferson2439
Benton2201
Franklin1893
Choctaw1795
Issaquena1033
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 131988

Reported Deaths: 2304
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19123337
Mobile13122290
Montgomery8688173
Madison763075
Tuscaloosa7323114
Lee575159
Shelby571950
Baldwin508749
Marshall387943
Calhoun337439
Etowah336547
Morgan321426
Houston272722
Elmore255847
DeKalb237119
St. Clair224335
Walker224380
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Limestone200119
Cullman186218
Dallas174926
Franklin174528
Russell17312
Autauga169124
Lauderdale165333
Colbert160926
Escambia156425
Blount156014
Jackson151611
Chilton150227
Dale133343
Covington131127
Coffee12838
Pike11619
Tallapoosa113683
Chambers113242
Clarke105517
Marion94828
Butler91138
Barbour8387
Winston71612
Marengo70119
Lowndes64927
Pickens63814
Bibb63610
Randolph62212
Hale61528
Lawrence59220
Bullock59114
Geneva5814
Monroe5768
Cherokee56916
Clay5527
Washington54913
Perry5386
Wilcox53111
Conecuh52411
Crenshaw52331
Macon47820
Henry4754
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Lamar3532
Choctaw34512
Cleburne3326
Greene30015
Coosa1653
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