Gun-sale checks, Trump non-committal

Win Mcnamee  Getty Images
President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press at the White House before departing on Sept. 09 2019 in Washington

Win Mcnamee Getty Images President Donald Trump speaks to members of the press at the White House before departing on Sept. 09 2019 in Washington

"We implore you to seize this moment when your leadership and influence over Republicans in Congress on the issue of guns is so critical", they wrote in the letter. The month began with the slaughter of 22 people in El Paso, Texas, was followed the next day by the murders of nine more people in Dayton, Ohio and ended with a rampage in Odessa, Texas that took the lives of seven people. Democrats controlling the House are proposing a government-wide temporary funding bill to prevent a federal shutdown at month's end and to give the slow-moving Senate time to act on $1.4 trillion worth of spending bills that fill in the details on this summer's bipartisan budget and debt deal.

The bill passed by the House in February would require background checks on all gun sales.

Pelosi of California and Schumer of NY referred to comments made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier this month that if Trump "took a position on a bill, so that we knew we would actually be making a law, and not just having serial votes, I'd be happy to put it on the floor".

Democrats spent weeks urging McConnell to call the Senate back, but he emphasized that he would only advance gun legislation that the president backed.

President Trump signed a two-year budget bill earlier this summer setting the top-line numbers for defense and domestic programs.

Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley, whose community lost nine people in an August 4 mass shooting, joined the Democrats calling for the Senate to vote on the House's background check bill.

Whaley, a Democrat, said prevention of gun violence crosses party lines. Barnett, a Republican, said background checks have strong support in his Republican-leaning city. "It's something they understand that we have to do as Americans because we are part of a greater society".

While Democrats attempted to build pressure on Republicans to enact gun control throughout the recess, Sen.

"The President needs to step up here and set some guidelines for what he would do", said Sen.

House Democrats say they're working with the Trump administration about certain concerns with the pact, but proponents hope Congress will vote on the deal in the fall. We're dealing with Republicans.

Scott Olson  Getty Images FILE
Scott Olson Getty Images FILE

"We have to protect our Second Amendment very strongly", Trump told reporters on Monday, when asked about gun control.

He said background checks and federal support for "red flag" laws were both discussed during their meeting. "They can't escape responsibility".

Passing the background checks bill remains a top priority for Democrats, just as it was before lawmakers left for their six-week recess, Pelosi said. "We are not taking no for an answer". "Look at the number of incidents that occurred while we were away", he said.

"What courage does it take to support legislation that will save lives?"

Bryan Barnett, mayor of Rochester Hills, Michigan, and the current head of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, said there was a "robust" discussion about gun legislation at the White House.

Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who is working with West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin on a bill to expand background checks, said Trump "has a real interest in doing something in this area". Several Republican senators are also now more interested but, he said, "it's hard to say how this will turn out".

Democrats said the clock is ticking.

Background checks for all gun purchases, including those that happen at gun shows and online, which have been subjected to loopholes, continue to have high support among Americans.

Democratic Congressional Representatives Veronica Escobar of Texas and Mike Thompson of California were also in attendance.

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