Schumer unveils Democratic gun control plan with plea for Trump support

 Schumer unveils Democratic gun control plan with plea for Trump support
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNo agreement on budget caps in sight ahead of Memorial Day recess Ex-White House photographer roasts Trump: 'This is what a cover up looked like' under Obama Pelosi: Trump 'is engaged in a cover-up' MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday unveiled his caucus' three-part gun control plan and urged President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE to "buck" the National Rifle Association (NRA) to support their effort after the Florida high school shooting.

Schumer also signaled that there may be dissent within the ranks of Democrats as he announced the "comprehensive, three-part plan."

The most controversial part of the Democratic plan outlined by Schumer is a demand that a ban on assault weapons be part of the Senate debate.

"We believe there should be a debate on assault weapons on the floor of the Senate. Not every member of our caucus will support that ban but the vast majority will," Schumer told reporters.

ADVERTISEMENT

He made a bid for President Trump to throw his support behind such a ban, which is not endorsed by Republican Senate leaders.

"Today I am strongly urging the president to follow through on his comments yesterday by endorsing these proposals and pushing Republican leaders in Congress to once and for all buck the NRA," he said.

"If the president can get some Republicans to vote for the assault weapons ban ... we can pass it soon," Schumer said.

Though Trump appeared to suggest including the ban in the Senate's legislation during a White House meeting on Wednesday, it's unlikely that an assault weapons ban could get the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate.

The White House has already come out against such a ban, which is also strongly opposed by the NRA.

Democrats also want to close "loopholes" on background checks for guns sold over the internet and at gun shows.

"Not having background checks at gun shows is like checking ID's at the liquor store but not at the bar," Schumer quipped.

Democrats are also pitching "protective orders" that would allow law enforcement or family members to get a court order to block an individual deemed dangerous from getting a gun.

That measure has bipartisan support with GOP Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump GOP senators work to get Trump on board with new disaster aid package MORE (Fla.) floating a similar bill as part of a package he unveiled separately on Thursday.

The Democratic plan comes after a bipartisan group of senators met with Trump during a freewheeling meeting at the White House on Wednesday. The president urged lawmakers to craft a "beautiful" bill
that would be "powerful" on background checks, and address mental health and school safety.

Schumer acknowledged that the hourlong meeting wasn't enough to guarantee that gun control legislation, which has stalled in Congress for years, could become law.

But, he argued, Trump's support will be crucial if any bill has a chance of getting through the GOP-controlled House and Senate, where lawmakers have bristled over some of the president's remarks.

Schumer focused on Trump even though his own party has not always united behind a bill.

Assault weapon ban legislation introduced earlier this week divided the Senate Democratic caucus, where members are defending 10 seats in states won by Trump in 2016.

Just over half of Democrats supported it including Democratic Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk Senate confirms Army, Navy chiefs MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSan Francisco police chief apologizes for raid on journalist's home Gillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign Senate Democrats to House: Tamp down the impeachment talk MORE (Calif.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerGillibrand seizes on abortion debate to jump-start campaign 2020 hopeful John Delaney unveils T climate plan Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE (N.J.) — all viewed as potential 2020 contenders.

Schumer said that "if the president works the room, meaning the Senate, we can get this done."

"Only a president, this president, will have the power to overcome [the NRA's] strength and finally get his Republican allies on the Hill to move to a place that embraces some common sense gun safety policies," he said.

He added that "if the president steps up to the plate, he'll deserve credit and we'll give it to him."

It remains unclear if, or when, the Senate will take up gun-related legislation or what bill they could bring up.

Schumer noted on Thursday that he has not yet spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump orders more troops to Mideast amid Iran tensions What if 2020 election is disputed? Immigration bills move forward amid political upheaval MORE (R-Ky.) but appeared hopeful they would be able to come up with an agreement to allow votes.

"McConnell and I have, on these types of issues, been able to reach a modicum of agreement," he said.

Any bill will need 60 votes to pass the Senate, meaning it will have to win support from both sides of the aisle.

Republicans are lining up behind the Fix NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) Act, which enforces current law by ensuring that states and agencies provide criminal records to the NICS, while penalizing those that don't.

But Democrats, while supportive of the bill, believe it is too narrow in response to the Feb. 14 Parkland, Fla., shooting where 17 people were killed.