House Democrats examine ways to reduce gun violence
Washington – Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee said Wednesday they will push for “sensible” gun safety laws that the public is demanding after a series of mass shootings in recent years.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the panel’s chairman, said he was disappointed that President Donald Trump did not mention gun violence in his State of the Union address, but said Democrats would focus on ways to reduce gun violence.
“For far too long, Republicans in Congress have offered moments of silence instead of action in the wake of gun tragedies. That era is over,” Nadler said as the panel convened a hearing that advocates say was its first wide-ranging attempt to strengthen gun-control laws in at least eight years.
After shootings in Florida and Texas, Congress boosted school safety funds last year and improved compliance with the federal gun purchase background check system. But lawmakers did not pursue major legislation sought by gun-control advocates.
In 2017, under Republican controI, the House approved a bill making it easier for gun owners to legally carry concealed weapons across state lines. The measure, a top priority of the National Rifle Association, failed in the Senate.
Democrats have promised swift action to tighten gun laws after the party regained the House majority following eight years of Republican rule. Proposals include expanded background checks for sales and transfers of firearms, restrictions on high-capacity magazines and a measure to allow temporary removal of guns from people deemed an imminent risk to themselves or others.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the bill on background checks a common-sense measure.
While gun-control measures are likely to win approval in the Democratic-controlled House, they face strong headwinds in the Republican-controlled Senate and in the White House, where Trump has vowed to “protect the Second Amendment.”