Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump’s Nixon-to-China moment on guns Schumer, GOP Rep. King urge McConnell to give background check bill a vote Pelosi says House recess could be cut short if Senate passes background checks bill MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday poured cold water on “red flag” legislation that is gaining traction among some Senate Republicans in the wake of a pair of mass shootings over the weekend, calling the measure an “ineffective cop out.”
“The notion that passing a tepid version of an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) bill—alone—is even close to getting the job done in addressing rampant gun violence in the U.S. is wrong and would be an ineffective cop out,” Schumer said in a statement.
He added that Democrats “are not going to settle for half-measures so Republicans can feel better and try to push the issue of gun violence off to the side.”
Schumer’s comments come as several Republican senators have floated passing legislation to provide incentives for states to pass so-called “red flag” laws in response to last weekend’s mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.
“Red flag” laws, as discussed by Republicans, would let family members petition for court orders to prevent dangerous individuals from being able to buy a gun. It would also let family members petition for court orders to have law enforcement temporarily remove a firearm.
Republican senators, including Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioEmpower the VA with the tools to help our veterans The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump, Democrats at odds over shootings’ causes, cures Social media bots pose threat ahead of 2020 MORE (Fla.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanMcConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Shaken Portman urges support for ‘red flag’ laws after Ohio shooting CNN slams GOP for not appearing on network after mass shootings, conservatives fire back MORE (Ohio) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill’s Morning Report – How will Trump be received in Dayton and El Paso? McConnell faces pressure to bring Senate back for gun legislation Trump to hold Hamptons fundraisers; top ticket is 0K: report MORE (S.C.), have talked about the idea of passing legislation that would provide grants to states to enact the laws.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpMSNBC’s Geist presses Castro on sharing Trump donors names: These people ‘are already being harassed’ Marianne Williamson: Message of love ‘absolutely’ extends to Trump Hickenlooper says Democrats are falling for ‘Trump’s execrable politics of distraction’ MORE also name-checked the idea during his White House speech on Monday, while Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneLawmakers jump start talks on privacy bill Trump border fight throws curveball into shutdown prospects Senate leaves for five-week August recess MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, told the Argus Leader that he was “confident Congress will be able to find common ground on the so-called ‘red flag’ issue.”
But Democrats have homed on trying to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSherrod Brown now says he’ll join Trump during Dayton trip Trump ‘all in favor’ of background checks but doubts will of Congress Advocates ramp up pressure on criminal justice measure MORE (R-Ky.) into passing a House bill that would implement universal background checks in the wake of the two mass shootings.
“Even the strongest [extreme risk protection order] legislation won’t be fully effective without strong universal background checks. As long as the gun show and online sales loopholes exist, someone prohibited from possessing a gun under an ERPO law could still purchase a firearm far too easily,” Schumer said in a statement.
The House passed its background check bill earlier this year with only eight Republicans voting for it. The Senate companion bill has 42 backers, none of whom are Republicans, leaving it well short of the 60 votes needed to pass the chamber and head to Trump’s desk. The White House has threatened to veto the bill.
But Schumer added that Democrats would try to force a vote on the House bill if Republicans bring “red flag” legislation to the Senate floor.
“Democrats in the Senate will seek to require that any ERPO bill that comes to the floor is accompanied by a vote on the House-passed universal background checks legislation,” he said.