President pitches gun-control measures as Senate nears debate
President Barack Obama took his case for new gun-control measures to Connecticut Monday, as lawmakers in Washington prepared to debate a package of reform measures later this week.
Introduced by a mother of one of the Sandy Hook shooting victims, Obama called on Congress to act.
“Some back in Washington are already floating the idea that they might use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms. Think about that. They’re not just saying they’ll vote “no” on ideas that almost all Americans support. They’re saying they won’t allow any votes on them at all. They’re saying your opinion doesn’t matter. And that’s not right,” said Obama.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said Monday he planned to join a group of 14 Republicans who will filibuster the bill, meaning Democrats would need to secure 60 votes to pass it.
As the reform measure stands, there is no ban on assault-style rifles or limits on magazine clips. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) stripped those measures from the bill reportedly out of concern any type of reform would be shot down.
The bill does include increased funding for school safety and is expected to include some expansion of background checks.
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) is meeting behind the scenes with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to hash out a deal related to expanding background checks.
According to a Fox News article, “that would allow the checks to apply to purchases at gun shows and Internet sales — but, importantly, exempt some sales between hunters or close relatives.”
David Keene, the president of the NRA, told Fox43 his group sees “no wiggle room” when it comes to background checks and called on the government to enforce existing laws better before expanding the background check system.
National polls have shown consistently more than 80 percent of voters support expanded background checks. Some polls have shown more than 90 percent of voters approving such a measure.