The principles will be unveiled Thursday, one day before President Obama is scheduled to visit Roseburg, Ore., to visit the families of victims of the shooting that occurred last week at an area community college.
Democrats hope to expand background checks to include domestic abuse reports and prevent any gun purchases until a full background check is completed, according to the letter. The plan would also make it illegal for someone to buy a gun on behalf of someone else who is unable to buy a firearm legally.
The principles will reintroduce many of the universal background check proposals contained in the failed bipartisan legislation introduced in 2013 by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WestVa.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). Just one of the four Democrats who voted against the bill, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), is still in the Senate and gun control advocates hope to win support from nearly every Democrat when the new bill is eventually written.
The plan is not expected to get much, if any, support from Republicans and may never receive a vote in the GOP-controlled Senate where 60 votes are needed for passage. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) has already proposed legislation that would encourage states to report more information about mentally ill individuals to the federal background check database. No date has been set for further action on the less restrictive Cornyn bill.
Schumer and Stabenow did not specify when they plan to introduce formal legislation. But the new push builds on Obama’s recent calls for Congress to act on gun control.
“This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America,” Obama said in a press conference after the Oregon shooting. “We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”
House Democrats are also attempting to ramp up the pressure on Congress to take some action to stem gun violence.
On Thursday, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) introduced a resolution to create a special committee to examine gun violence that would issue a report and recommendations 60 days after being established.