Schumer: Only passing narrow background check bill would be 'abject failure'
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action MORE (D-N.Y.) said Monday that it would be an "abject failure" if Congress can only pass legislation that bolsters reporting to the background check system in response to the deadly shooting at a Florida high school earlier this month.

"If all Congress does in response to the Parkland shooting is to pass the Fix NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] bill, it would be an abject failure and a dereliction of our duty," Schumer said, adding that Democrats will push for universal background checks.

He said Democrats hope "Republican leaders will help pass real legislation that makes a difference, rather than [National Rifle Association]-backed bills that make Republicans feel better without meaningfully addressing the issue of gun safety." 

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The Fix NICS legislation, spearheaded by Sens. John CornynJohn CornynImpeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP GOP divided over impeachment trial strategy GOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial MORE (R-Texas) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyLawmakers spar over upcoming Sondland testimony Johnson: Whistleblower 'exposed things that didn't need to be exposed' Sunday shows — Spotlight shifts to Sondland ahead of impeachment inquiry testimony MORE (D-Conn.), enforces current law by ensuring that states and agencies provide criminal records to the NICS, while penalizing those that don't. 

Thirty-five senators, including Schumer, are formal co-sponsors of the bill. 

But Democrats, while supportive of the legislation, argue that it cannot be the totality of Congress's response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, in which 17 people were killed. 

“Democrats believe that, at a minimum, the Congressional response to the Parkland shooting should include universal background check legislation that would close the gun show and internet sales loopholes that allow guns to fall into the wrong hands," Schumer said. 

He similarly told reporters late last week that universal background checks would be the party's top priority following the Parkland shooting. 

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump reversed course on flavored e-cigarette ban over fear of job losses: report Trump to award National Medal of Arts to actor Jon Voight Sondland notified Trump officials of investigation push ahead of Ukraine call: report MORE has backed a myriad of ideas in response to the massacre, including arming teachers, eliminating bump stocks and "comprehensive" background checks. 

But legislation requiring a background check for every gun sale would likely face an uphill climb in the GOP-controlled Congress, where gun control bills have stalled for years. 

Even the Murphy-Cornyn bill has drawn opposition from a band of GOP senators. 

A spokesman for Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Hillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant Senators introduce bipartisan bill restricting police use of facial recognition tech MORE (R-Utah) said they have "due process concerns," while Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) told The Advocate last month that it compared to saying "pretty please with sugar on top" to government employees to get them to do their job.