Gun debate: Here are the proposals that Congress is considering

Gun debate: Here are the proposals that Congress is considering
© Greg Nash

Lawmakers are offering a range of measures to respond to the Florida high school shooting last month that left 17 people dead.

Despite the flurry sparked by President TrumpDonald John TrumpRosenstein expected to leave DOJ next month: reports Allies wary of Shanahan's assurances with looming presence of Trump States file lawsuit seeking to block Trump's national emergency declaration MORE’s call for new legislation, there’s no sign of a bill that can pass both chambers.

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But that hasn’t stopped members from outlining a number of options.

Here's a look at the competing proposals.

Fix NICS Act

This bill is aimed at bolstering records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and was introduced after a shooting last year in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

It has gained new momentum, but also new opposition, since the shooting in Parkland, Fla.

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

Despite its bipartisan origins — it was introduced by Sens. John CornynJohn CornynOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Poll shows competitive matchup if O’Rourke ran for Senate again On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Texas) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen This week: Border deal remains elusive as shutdown looms MORE (D-Conn.) — Democrats have rejected the bill as too narrow.

Manchin-Toomey

The 2013 background check bill got a burst of new life after President Trump suggested it be used as the base for Congress’s new gun push.

The legislation spearheaded by Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinDemocrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Senate confirms Trump pick William Barr as new attorney general GOP wants to pit Ocasio-Cortez against Democrats in the Senate MORE (D-W.Va.) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight 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 Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (R-Pa.) in the weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting failed to overcome a filibuster, mostly by Republicans.

Five Democrats also opposed it, but only one, Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOvernight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down Trump picks ex-oil lobbyist David Bernhardt for Interior secretary On The Money: Shutdown Day 27 | Trump fires back at Pelosi by canceling her foreign travel | Dems blast 'petty' move | Trump also cancels delegation to Davos | House votes to disapprove of Trump lifting Russia sanction MORE (D-N.D.), remains in the Senate. She is up for reelection this fall.

The legislation would have expanded background checks for internet and gun show sales, while also including exemptions for friends and family.

Toomey told The Associated Press that he spoke on the phone with Trump, who was supportive of using Manchin-Toomey as the “core legislative vehicle.”

But the bill would likely face an uphill battle.

Twelve Democrats who supported the legislation are no longer in the Senate and half of them were replaced by Republicans.

Background checks:

Senate Democrats are demanding more extensive background checks on gun purchases.

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (D-N.Y.), outlining his caucus’s three-part plan, said Trump should “at a minimum” support closing “loopholes” by requiring background checks for all firearms sold at gun shows or over the internet.

“I think the president knows he could show real leadership by bucking the [National Rifle Association], providing cover for his Republicans and getting something actually done,” he told reporters.

Schumer didn’t say if Democrats would offer Manchin-Toomey as their background check legislation or file a separate piece of legislation.

A Quinnipiac University poll released late last month found that 97 percent of Americans — including 97 percent of gun owners and 97 percent of Republicans — support requiring a background check on every gun sale.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Friday that the president is “not necessarily” pushing for “universal” background checks.  

“Certainly improving the background check system. He wants to see what that legislation, the final piece of it looks like,” she told reporters.

School safety

Trump has homed in on school safety following the shooting, saying campuses should be “hardened.”

“These include allowing people with a certified training, very talented people, to carry firearms,” Trump said during this week’s White House meeting with lawmakers.

While getting Congress to pass funding for his idea appears unlikely, lawmakers are offering, or preparing to offer, their own school safety legislation.

Republican senators, led by Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchOrrin Hatch Foundation seeking million in taxpayer money to fund new center in his honor Mitch McConnell has shown the nation his version of power grab Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Utah Senate votes to scale back Medicaid expansion | Virginia abortion bill reignites debate | Grassley invites drug execs to testify | Conservative groups push back on e-cig crackdown MORE (Utah), are expected to introduce legislation that would increase funding for Justice Department school violence prevention grants.

Meanwhile, Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioRubio in Colombia to push for delivery of humanitarian aid to Venezuela On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week MORE (R-Fla.), arguing federal law “appears to discourage school systems from reporting dangerous students to law enforcement,” said he would introduce legislation to try to cut down on the delay.

In the House, Rep. Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerOn The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week How the border deal came together Winners and losers in the border security deal MORE (R-Texas) is offering legislation that would encourage local school districts to buy and install metal detectors.

And Rep. Roger WilliamsJohn (Roger) Roger WilliamsCongress starts first day of shutdown with modest hope Senate agrees to last-ditch talks, but no clear path over shutdown Pelosi vows Dem help after GOP ‘meltdown’ on spending bills MORE (R-Texas) introduced legislation that would allow the Department of Education to create a grant for school districts to be able to conduct independent security assessments.

Assault weapons ban

House and Senate Democrats are pushing for a ban on assault weapons following the Florida shooting — a move supported by the party’s base but unlikely to pass Congress.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFeinstein says she thinks Biden will run after meeting with him Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao seeks to clarify past remarks on date rape Bottom Line MORE (D-Calif.) raised the issue during the White House meeting and was openly giddy when Trump appeared open to including it in a broad bill.

A recent assault weapons ban bill won over 27 Senate Democrats, including Democratic Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandWarren set to announce plan for universal child care: reports Senate Dems introduce bill to prevent Trump from using disaster funds to build wall Klobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris, Booker call for judgement on Jussie Smollett case to be withheld until investigation is completed Harris calls idea of Trump trusting Putin over US intel ‘height of irresponsibility and shameful’ Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report MORE (Calif.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHarris, Booker call for judgement on Jussie Smollett case to be withheld until investigation is completed Barack, Michelle Obama expected to refrain from endorsing in 2020 Dem primary: report Jussie Smollett case shows media villainizing Trump and his supporters, without proof — again MORE (N.J.), as well as Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Booker seeks dialogue about race as he kicks off 2020 campaign Capitalism: The known ideal MORE (I-Vt.) — all viewed as potential 2020 contenders.

Most of the House Democratic Caucus is backing similar legislation.

Minimum age  

Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump suggests Heller lost reelection bid because he was 'hostile' during 2016 presidential campaign Live coverage: Trump delivers State of the Union Sasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger MORE (R-Ariz.) and Feinstein introduced legislation less than an hour after the White House meeting that would raise the minimum age for buying an assault rifle from 18 to 21.

The suspect in the Florida shooting, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is said to have used an AR-15, which gun control proponents say is a form of an assault weapon. Many gun rights supporters disagree with that view.

Trump encouraged lawmakers to strongly consider the issue, though Sanders acknowledged that Trump “knows there's not a lot of broad support for that.”

GOP Rep. Thomas MassieThomas Harold MassieHouse pays tribute to Walter Jones House approves motion condemning anti-Semitism Lawmakers push to end shutdowns — for good MORE (Ky.) has introduced a bill that would lower the minimum age for buying a handgun from 21 to 18.

Bump stocks

Lawmakers are pushing forward with formal legislation to ban bump stocks even as Trump said he would “quickly” sign an executive order making the gun attachment illegal.

The device allows a semi-automatic weapon to function similarly to an automatic weapon, with multiple rounds fired with the single pull of a trigger.

Flake and Democratic Sens. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Defense: Dems aim to block use of defense funds for wall | Watchdog issues new warning on Syria withdrawal | Trump wants to 'watch Iran' from Iraq Senate Dems introduce bill to block Trump from using military funds to build wall Puerto Rico statehood supporters pin hopes on House action MORE (N.M.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoSchumer urging ex-congressional candidate Amy McGrath to run against McConnell Mark Kelly launches Senate bid in Arizona Former McCain chief of staff says he will not run for Senate in Arizona in 2020 MORE (Nev.) introduced the bill. Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySmaller tax refunds put GOP on defensive High stakes as Trump, Dems open drug price talks Senate approves border bill that prevents shutdown MORE (R-Iowa) separately said he is open to passing legislation if the Trump administration’s current effort to ban them through regulation fails.

A bump stock wasn’t used in the Florida shooting. But they came onto the nation’s radar after they were reportedly used during a shooting at a concert in Las Vegas where 56 people were killed.

“Red flags”

Both Rubio and Schumer have pointed to allowing law enforcement or close family members to use a court order to temporarily block an individual deemed dangerous from being able to buy or posses a gun as a priority.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCongress closer to forcing Trump’s hand on Saudi support Democrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal Warren: Officials have duty ‘to invoke 25th amendment’ if they think Trump is unfit MORE (R-S.C.) also said they are working on “red flag” legislation. The two senators are expected to introduce their bill next week.

“Our government encourages our citizens that if you see something, say something. We also need ‘do something,’ ” Graham said in a statement.  

Straw purchases

Cracking down on straw purchases, when an individual who can pass a background check buys a gun for someone who can’t, appears to have support from across the Senate’s political spectrum.

Rubio said he is working on legislation that would provide more resources for prosecutors to go after the individuals who buy the gun. And Sanders name-dropped the issue during his floor speech outlining how Congress should respond to the Florida shooting.

Meanwhile, GOP Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats On unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Congress must step up to protect Medicare home health care MORE (Maine) and Democratic Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph Leahy‘Contingency’ spending in 3B budget deal comes under fire How the border deal came together Winners and losers in the border security deal MORE (Vt.) introduced legislation last year that would make such gun purchases a stand-alone criminal offense.