Tags: Gun Control | Gun Rights | mcconnell | gun control | shootings | legislation

McConnell: House Gun Safety Bills Won't Address Shootings

mitch mcconnell speaks in hearing
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) speaks during a hearing before Senate Rules and Administration Committee at Russell Senate Office Building March 24, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 24 March 2021 11:45 AM

Acts of violence like the two mass shootings that have happened within the past week are "horrendous," but the two gun safety bills that were passed earlier this month in the House won't address the issue, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell insisted Wednesday. 

"First of all, these acts of violence are horrendous," the Kentucky Republican said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom." "We've seen them happen periodically in our history. It reminds us that the real challenge here is mental illness and identifying people who are likely do this kind of thing in advance is very, very difficult."

Calls for legislation are growing after the March 16 shootings in Atlanta, where eight people, mostly women of Asian descent, were shot and killed at three massage parlors, and then after the shootings this week at a Boulder, Colorado supermarket, where 10 people were slain. 

McConnell, though, said that if Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wants to bring up the issue of mass shootings and gun control, "we'll be happy to debate it," but still he thinks the focus should be on identifying people "in advance who have the capacity and the interest in carrying out these attacks."

The House bills call for expanded background checks beyond those sought back in 2013 in a bill by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., that failed to advance. The background checks would include being required for transactions between private parties, at gun shows, over the internet, and would close the "Charleston Loophole" by stretching out the time for extended background checks. 

President Joe Biden on Tuesday called for a ban on assault-style weapons and more tight gun control measures in the wake of the Boulder shootings. Vice President Kamala Harris, appearing on CBS "This Morning" Wednesday morning, echoed the call,  imploring Congress, particularly the Senate, to pass gun control measures and said Biden is ready to sign the bills into law. 

"The point here is Congress needs to act," Harris said. "On the House side, they did. There are two bills which the president is prepared to sign, and so we need the Senate to act."

Meanwhile, McConnell also spoke out against House Resolution 1, the House voting rights bill that is coming up in the Senate on Wednesday.

"First of all, it's a federal takeover of the way we conduct elections, every election in America," said McConnell. "This bill is designed to make it easier to cheat, to subsidize campaigns by the federal government, and to have one party take over the enforcement of American elections," said the senator. "It is an atrocity and we'll do everything we can to defeat it."

He also discussed Democrats' calls to eliminate the filibuster, which he called the "essence of the Senate."

"You can't pass most legislation with a simple majority in the Senate," he said. "You have to have some kind of bipartisan buy-in and the bill doesn't pass ... we could have done that when my party was in the majority. President Trump actually asked us to. I said no, we were not interested in changing the fundamental nature of the United States Senate, which is designed on purpose to kill bad ideas or to reach a compromise so you can reach the supermajority threshold. It keeps America in the political center."

McConnell also said Biden has not invited him to the White House, which he said shows it is not interested in "doing anything on a bipartisan basis."

"They try to jam through everything on the hard left," said McConnell. "They are now cooking up yet another package. They will call it infrastructure. It will be a Trojan horse that includes massive tax increases on Americans. They are going hard left."

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Politics
Acts of violence like the two mass shootings that have happened within the past week are "horrendous," but the two gun safety bills that were passed earlier this month in the House won't address the issue, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell...
mcconnell, gun control, shootings, legislation
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2021-45-24
Wednesday, 24 March 2021 11:45 AM
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