McConnell shelves gun bills for banking reform

McConnell shelves gun bills for banking reform
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats seek leverage for trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play House Democrats to vote on flavored e-cigarettes ban next year 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 CrapoGOP senator blocks bill aimed at preventing Russia election meddling The job no GOP senator wants: 'I'd rather have a root canal' Lawmakers battle over future of Ex-Im Bank 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 TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 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 CornynLive coverage: DOJ inspector general testifies on Capitol Hill Hillicon Valley: Apple, Facebook defend encryption during Senate grilling | Tech legal shield makes it into trade deal | Impeachment controversy over phone records heats up | TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings Apple, Facebook defend encryption during Senate grilling MORE (R-Texas) and Democratic Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats seek leverage for trial Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism NCAA president wants a federal athlete compensation bill 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 Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Inspector general testifies on FBI failures: Five takeaways Conservatives rip FBI over IG report: 'scathing indictment' 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 PaulOvernight Defense: House passes compromise defense bill | Turkey sanctions advance in Senate over Trump objections | Top general says military won't be 'raping, burning and pillaging' after Trump pardons Rand Paul: 'We need to re-examine' US-Saudi relationship after Florida shooting Senate panel advances Turkey sanctions bill despite Trump objections 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 SchumerKrystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings, inflaming tensions Overnight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments 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 FlakeLindsey Graham basks in the impeachment spotlight Kelly, McSally virtually tied in Arizona Senate race: poll The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Nareit — White House cheers Republicans for storming impeachment hearing 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 ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) thinks his bill co-sponsored with Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinManchin warns he'll slow-walk government funding bill until he gets deal on miners legislation Krystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? Potential Dem defectors face pressure on impeachment 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.