Bill to bolster gun background checks gains enough support to break filibuster

Bill to bolster gun background checks gains enough support to break filibuster

A bill to bolster the national background check system used for gun purchases crossed a critical milestone this week, getting enough support to break a filibuster and pass the Senate. 

Senate Majority 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's (R-Texas) office noted on Friday that the legislation picked up six more co-sponsors, bringing the total number of supporters to 62. 
The boost in support puts it just over the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster, a key procedural hurdle, and gives it enough support to potentially be passed by the Senate. 
Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyGrassley, Dems step up battle over judicial nominees 2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states Mulvaney remarks on Trump budget plan spark confusion MORE (D-Ore.), Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineSave lives, restore congressional respect by strengthening opioids’ seizure Overnight Finance: Lawmakers, Treasury look to close tax law loopholes | Trump says he backs gas tax hike | Markets rise despite higher inflation | Fannie Mae asks for .7B Bipartisan Senate group says they have immigration deal MORE (D-Va.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandAmerican women will decide who wins and loses in 2018 elections Dems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Calls mount from Dems to give platform to Trump accusers  MORE (D-N.Y.), Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerSenate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA US trade deficit rises on record imports from China Flake, GOP senators to meet with Trump on trade MORE (R-Neb.), Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranOvernight Finance: Breaking down Trump's budget | White House finally releases infrastructure plan | Why it faces a tough road ahead | GOP, Dems feud over tax-cut aftermath | Markets rebound McConnell tees up budget deal McConnell urging Mississippi gov to appoint himself if Cochran resigns: report MORE (R-Miss.) and John BoozmanJohn Nichols BoozmanSenate Republicans call on Trump to preserve NAFTA Dems go on the attack during EPA chief's hearing Bipartisan group of senators ask Trump to fund broadband in infrastructure plan MORE (R-Ark.) are the latest senators to formally sign onto the Fix NICS (National Instant Background Check System) Act. 

The legislation reinforces existing laws by ensuring that authorities report criminal records to the system and penalizing agencies that don't. 

The effort has been championed after multiple mass shootings where the alleged gunmen were able to purchase firearms despite past charges or warnings about their behavior.

Cornyn hinted on Thursday morning that he was close to securing 60 votes for the legislation, which he introduced late last year with 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 (D-Conn.). 

“I can't tell you how disappointed I am that the United States Senate has done nothing, nothing, to prevent [mass shootings] from happening in the future. We're close to 60 bipartisan co-sponsors," he said from the Senate floor.

Despite having more than 60 votes, it remains unclear when, or if, it will be brought up for a vote. 
A scheduling update from 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.) that outlined what else the chamber will tackle before a two-week recess expected to start on March 23 did not mention the background check legislation. 
The gun control debate has largely stalled in the Senate after the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting, where 17 people were killed. 
Republicans have signaled they want to pass the Fix NICS Act by unanimous consent — allowing it to skip over a formal vote and potentially days of floor time. 
But the bill has run into a stumbling block amid a slate of GOP senators who say they have "due process" concerns. 
Democrats, while supportive of the legislation, have also said they believe it is too narrow of a response.