More than 200 mayors — including a half-dozen, whose cities have experienced recent high-profile mass shootings — wrote to Senate leaders Thursday, urging the chamber to reconvene to pass legislation strengthening background checks for gun buyers.
“The tragic events in El Paso and Dayton this weekend are just the latest reminders that our nation can no longer wait for our federal government to take the actions necessary to prevent people who should not have access to firearms from being able to purchase them,” said the letter, signed by 214 mayors, including more than a dozen Republicans.
Those who signed include El Paso Mayor Dee Margo (R) and Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley (D). Separate shootings left 31 dead in their two cities over the weekend.
The mayors of several other cities that have experienced mass shootings in recent years were also on board, including those of Annapolis, Orlando, Parkland, Fla., and Pittsburgh.
The mayors are asking the Senate to return from August recess to pass two bills that were approved earlier this year by the Democratic-led House but that have not advanced in the Republican-led Senate.
Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a statement saying Senate Republicans were prepared to “do our part” to address mass shootings, but the statement made no mention of the House-passed bills. A McConnell spokesman declined additional comment Thursday.
In the aftermath of the weekend shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged McConnell to call senators back to Washington.
“To @SenateMajLdr McConnell: No more games,” Schumer wrote on Twitter on Wednesday. “Gavel the Senate back into session and let’s vote on the bipartisan, House-passed universal background checks legislation immediately.”
In late February, the Democratic-led House approved the first major new firearms restrictions to advance in a generation. The proposed legislation would amend federal gun laws to require background checks for all gun sales and most gun transfers.
Federally licensed dealers are required to run background checks on people who buy guns, but private sellers who are not federally licensed are not. Under the bill, private parties would have to seek out a federal licensee to facilitate a gun deal.
The next day, the chamber passed a separate bill that would extend the time for the government to complete a background check on someone trying to buy a gun from a licensed dealer before the sale can go through.
Trump has threatened to veto the two bills, saying they do not sufficiently protect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.
Since the weekend shootings, however, Trump has expressed a new openness to considering background checks.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, he said that there “was great appetite for background checks” and that he was “looking to do background checks.” He did not specifically mention the House-passed bills.