Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, on Thursday blocked a request by Democrats to proceed on gun control legislation days after a 15-year-old shot and killed four students at a high school in Michigan, reports The Guardian.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., sought "unanimous consent" Thursday on the Senate floor to request that the Judiciary Committee forward the bill, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, citing the Michigan shooting, though he acknowledged the bill would likely not have prevented the incident.
Grassley condemned the request as "hostile towards lawful gun owners and lawful firearm transactions" and argued that "so-called universal background checks will not prevent crime and will turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals."
The bill, passed by the House in March, would expand background checks on practically all firearm purchases.
"I want to tell you why I'm making this request," Murphy said. "I understand the low likelihood of success, but I hope many of my colleagues took a minute to watch the cellphone video from the school shooting in Michigan," he added, referring to the surveillance footage in which Ethan Crumbley emerged from a bathroom with a pistol and a 15-round magazine, allegedly firing at classmates and teachers.
He went on to call the footage "absolutely terrifying to watch," adding, "all of those kids who fled that violence, all of those kids who now don't think of school as a safe place, they are going through trauma and will go through trauma that will take a lifetime to address."
"I don't claim that this proposal nor any other proposal to change the nation's gun laws will have an effect on every single shooting," he said, but argued that an expanded background check "saves lives, decreases gun violence, [and] decreases violent crime."
Grassley instead promoted his own bill, The Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act of 2021, which aims to reduce violent crime while bolstering protections for law-abiding gun owners.
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