President Donald Trump sat down with lawmakers this week in a televised strategy session to discuss the controversial gun issue. He asked Congress to draft a “terrific” bill, which includes several proposals aimed at reducing gun violence, and send it to him.
The President also said that he will unilaterally ban so-called “bump stocks,” which is an attachment that enables a semiautomatic rifle to fire faster.
“I’m going to write that out. You won’t have to worry about bump stocks,” Trump assured Congress.
This may not be an easy task for Congress, since it is already having a difficult time passing a measure that would improve how information is reported to the federal background checks database.
“It would be so beautiful to have one bill,” Trump told lawmakers at the White House.
This joint session between the President and Congress was prompted after the Parkland, Florida high school shooting that left 17 dead.
Following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Congress vetoed a measure that would expand background checks. Proposed by senators Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Patrick Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, it failed to advance on a 54 – 46 vote. Five Democrats and 41 Republicans opposed it.
“It will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools,” the NRA had argued.
The Obama Administration did not regulate bump stocks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting because the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) said it couldn’t legally regulate bump stocks.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other top Democrats are now urging the President to help pass the measure in the wake of the Florida high school shooting.
The measure has not been supported by many Republican lawmakers nor the NRA.
In tweets, the President has shown support for “comprehensive” background checks but Republican leaders have taken that to mean Trump is supporting the enhancement of how disqualifying offenses are reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
However, that is not what Democrats are looking for. They are seeking a more comprehensive expansion of background checks.
They want a minimum of mandating them for all private gun sales, including sales over the internet and at gun shows. This would eliminate the current system of only requiring federally licensed firearms dealers to conduct these checks.
Some senators who opposed the 2013 measure have said that they might revisit their decisions following the recent shooting in Florida.
“Were you to endorse legislation to require a background check on every gun purchase, without other poison pill provisions attached, we could finally move much closer toward the comprehensive system that you called for after the Stoneman Douglas attack,” the Democratic senators wrote.