As the powerful political pressure calling for stricter gun legislation only continues to build we find support inching ever closer to a critical mass on Capitol Hill. The latest groundswell of activity comes after a heavy outcry largely stemming from back to back shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas last month. Plus another deadly incident carried out by a deranged gunman in Gilroy, California just a week before. And most recently multiple Midland/Odessa murders at the end of August. The growing legion that desperately beg and plead for change simply can’t be ignored. Our elected officials apparently got a message that something must be done.
Congress could finally take legislative action following over a decade of virtual inaction on this front. In the form of a newly revived Senate amendment initially drafted and proposed more than six years ago. The bipartisan bill was originally sponsored by Democrat Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. The relative inactivity might be ascribed to a strange brew of partisan politics fueled by wildly diverging core ideologies. As well as a strong influence coming from potent special interest groups. While in that period many scores of senseless tragedies triggered by guns have taken place across the United States. Now it seems that a good number of power players in Washington are moving to side with added reform.
Manchin and Toomey joined forces with democratic ally Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut making a passionate plea for help to President Trump on Wednesday. In a conference call they reportedly even discussed the finer details of successfully moving such a measure through the Senate. Toomey said: “Our best chance of success would be to broaden background checks to include commercial gun sales,” such as ones conducted over the internet and at gun shows. He added that those sales, largely unregulated, provide a way “for violent criminals and those dangerously mentally ill to have a way to easily obtain firearms. This act would provide an exception for the private transfer of applicable weapons among family members and friends.
Earlier this week House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to President Trump urging him to publicly support the House-passed, Bipartisan Background Checks Act, H.R.8., noting his recent show of support for stronger background checks. Along with a vital endorsement from the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who lately has voiced his approval for a change quoted “these horrendous shootings, in my opinion, deserve a response. I hope we can get something that can actually become the law of the United States of America.” Though the Republican power broker from Kentucky remains cautious about a prospective deal as legislators wait pending the word of President Trump.
Beyond that 145 top American business executives have pledged a commitment to new firearm safety regulations. The high profile CEOs comprising a wide range of corporate entities publicly endorsed a red flag law allowing family members or law enforcement to petition a judge to temporarily remove guns from a person who is seen to be a risk to themselves or others. They further declared an urgent need for universal background checks. This part currently a sticking point between U.S. policymakers.
Yet still there is a raging debate around the so-called Charleston loophole. That being a current 72 hour deadline for the FBI to receive and review a potential gun owner’s application. If they don’t formally raise an objection in that defined time a sale can proceed. If they do but haven’t actually made contact with the seller a transaction may proceed anyway. As the House of Representatives passed a resolution in February that would extend the background check review period from three days to 10 days, which lawmakers say will give the FBI more time to complete full background checks. Better known as H.R. 1112 or The Enhanced Background Checks Act. That introduced by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and will soon be considered for a vote in the upper chamber.
President Trump has communicated a desire to quickly address this troubling issue. Although he remained noncommittal regarding a final decision the past few days, the president expressed a hope for additional reform. With all of that said protecting our second amendment constitutional rights should remain a key priority. An update on the situation is hopefully expected from the white house any day.
A move has to be carefully considered here as conservatives worry about possible fallout ahead of the 2020 election. As Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas for one has been warning. In essence they fear this effort may alienate precious voters. In contrast his colleague Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) argues that expanding background checks puts a burden on law-abiding citizens and likely would do little to prevent future mass shootings. Besides the fact every city and state holds a different set of priorities in that sense. But despite those factors public safety is paramount. Really how else can they possibly restore the people’s faith?