McConnell shelves gun bills for banking reform

McConnell shelves gun bills for banking reform
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellLawmakers feel pressure on guns Bipartisan group of House lawmakers urge action on Export-Import Bank nominees Curbelo Dem rival lashes out over immigration failure MORE (R-Ky.) is moving to banking reform legislation — not gun control or other responses to the high school shooting in Florida — next week in the Senate.

McConnell has filed a motion to have a procedural vote Tuesday on legislation sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoBeware of the bank deregulation Trojan horse Senate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA Dems rip Trump's Fed pick as Senate panel mulls three key nominees MORE (R-Idaho). After that, McConnell hopes to move to legislation addressing sex trafficking, according to GOP sources.


Legislation addressing the Florida high school shooting, the subject of contentious conversations between President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE and GOP lawmakers at a White House meeting televised live on cable news Wednesday, will wait.

A Senate GOP aide said a limited bill to strengthen background checks for firearms purchases could come to the floor at any moment as soon as Democrats agree to let it move forward.

McConnell on Tuesday blamed Democrats for preventing the proposal, sponsored by Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynLawmakers feel pressure on guns Kasich’s campaign website tones down gun language after Florida shooting Murphy: Trump’s support for background check bill shows gun politics ‘shifting rapidly’ MORE (R-Texas) and Democratic Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyLawmakers feel pressure on guns Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks Kasich’s campaign website tones down gun language after Florida shooting MORE (Conn.), from coming to the floor.

“We tried to get it cleared yesterday, but the Democratic leader objected,” McConnell said.

Democrats vigorously dispute that and say that conservatives led by Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe 14 GOP senators who voted against Trump’s immigration framework Prison sentencing bill advances over Sessions objections Grassley ‘incensed’ by Sessions criticism of proposed sentencing reform legislation MORE (R-Utah) objected to moving the Cornyn-Murphy bill.

Either way, that legislation is not seen as a huge step on gun violence by most lawmakers. It would give local and federal authorities more incentive to report relevant information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Trump on Wednesday suggested that additions should be made to the bill as he spoke with Cornyn.

Yet even that legislation has its opponents in the Senate.

Conservative Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulDem wins Kentucky state House seat in district Trump won by 49 points GOP's tax reform bait-and-switch will widen inequality Pentagon budget euphoria could be short-lived MORE (R-Ky.) on Thursday said he had serious due process concerns over the potential that veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress symptoms could be blocked as a group from buying firearms.

“You can’t take gun rights away in bulk. If you say everyone that has PTSD that’s a veteran, all their data will be dumped into a database and it will show up on a background check, that’s a problem,” he said.

“I’m for taking away gun rights from violent people but you have to do it one at a time, you can’t do it in bulk,” he said.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocrats now attack internet rules they once embraced Schumer: Trump budget would ‘cripple’ gun background checks Schumer: Senate Republicans' silence 'deafening' on guns, Russia MORE (D-N.Y.) says he supports the Fix NICS legislation but warned earlier this week that it falls far short of what is needed to stop mass shootings such a the one that left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

“If that is all Congress does, we won’t have done our job to keep America’s families safe,” he said.

He called the bill “fine” but “certainly not enough.” 

Republicans are divided over what to do on gun legislation.

Some Republicans such as Lee, Paul and Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.) say the Fix NICS bill is flawed.

Other Republicans, such as Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March Outgoing GOP rep: Republican Party 'heading into trouble' in election MORE (Ariz.), want to go further by also raising the age requirement for buying rifles from age 18 to 21.

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyTop GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race Newly declassified memos detail extent of improper Obama-era NSA spying Overnight Tech: FCC won't fine Colbert over Trump joke | Trump budget slashes science funding | Net neutrality comment period opens MORE (R-Pa.) thinks his bill co-sponsored with Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPavlich: The claim Trump let the mentally ill get guns is a lie Toomey to introduce bill broadening background checks for firearms Scott Walker backs West Virginia attorney general in GOP Senate primary MORE (D-W.Va.) to extend mandatory background checks to include sales at gun shows and over the internet, should get priority. 

Many Republican senators, however, say they oppose rising the mandatory age for buying rifles or requiring background checks for gun shows and online sales.