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McConnell shelves gun bills for banking reform

McConnell shelves gun bills for banking reform
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTop aide: Biden expected to visit Georgia in push to boost Ossoff, Warnock Democrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' 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 CrapoDemocrats accuse Mnuchin of sabotaging economy in dispute with Fed Shelton's Fed nomination on knife's edge amid coronavirus-fueled absences Bottom line MORE (R-Idaho). After that, McConnell hopes to move to legislation addressing sex trafficking, according to GOP sources.

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Legislation addressing the Florida high school shooting, the subject of contentious conversations between President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump 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 CornynTop GOP senator: Biden should be getting intel briefings GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results Trump keeps tight grip on GOP amid divisions MORE (R-Texas) and Democratic Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks Biden decides on pick for secretary of State Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses 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 LeeLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight 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 PaulLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Overnight Defense: Formal negotiations inch forward on defense bill with Confederate base name language | Senators look to block B UAE arms sales | Trump administration imposes Iran sanctions over human rights abuses 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 SchumerChuck SchumerNew York City subway service could be slashed 40 percent, officials warn Biden congratulates Pelosi on Speaker nomination Senate Democrats introduce bill to shore up PPE supply 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 FlakeProfiles in cowardice: Trump's Senate enablers McSally concedes Arizona Senate race The Hill's Morning Report - ObamaCare front and center; transition standoff continues 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 ToomeyAppeals court rules NSA's bulk phone data collection illegal Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel GOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy MORE (R-Pa.) thinks his bill co-sponsored with Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Dems push McConnell on COVID-19 relief; Grassley contracts COVID-19 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.