Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell signals Senate GOP will oppose combined debt ceiling-funding bill Centrist state lawmaker enters Ohio GOP Senate primary Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday poured cold water on "red flag" legislation that is gaining traction among some Senate Republicans in the wake of a pair of mass shootings over the weekend, calling the measure an "ineffective cop out."
"The notion that passing a tepid version of an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) bill—alone—is even close to getting the job done in addressing rampant gun violence in the U.S. is wrong and would be an ineffective cop out," Schumer said in a statement.
He added that Democrats "are not going to settle for half-measures so Republicans can feel better and try to push the issue of gun violence off to the side."
Schumer's comments come as several Republican senators have floated passing legislation to provide incentives for states to pass red flag laws in response to last weekend's mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.
Red flag laws, as discussed by Republicans, would let family members petition for court orders to prevent dangerous individuals from being able to buy a gun. It would also let family members petition for court orders to have law enforcement temporarily remove a firearm.
Republican senators, including Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioPoll: Trump dominates 2024 Republican primary field Milley says calls to China were 'perfectly within the duties' of his job Overnight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod MORE (Fla.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname Centrist state lawmaker enters Ohio GOP Senate primary Emboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes MORE (Ohio) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRep. Tim Ryan becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress Graham found Trump election fraud arguments suitable for 'third grade': Woodward book Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan MORE (S.C.), have talked about the idea of passing legislation that would provide grants to states to enact the laws.
President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump takes shot at new GOP candidate in Ohio over Cleveland nickname GOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE also name-checked the idea during his White House speech on Monday, while Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThis week: Democrats face mounting headaches Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Manchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican, told the Argus Leader that he was "confident Congress will be able to find common ground on the so-called 'red flag' issue."
But Democrats have homed in on trying to pressure Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default MORE (R-Ky.) into passing a House bill that would implement universal background checks in the wake of the two mass shootings.
"Even the strongest [extreme risk protection order] legislation won’t be fully effective without strong universal background checks. As long as the gun show and online sales loopholes exist, someone prohibited from possessing a gun under an ERPO law could still purchase a firearm far too easily," Schumer said in a statement.
The House passed its background check bill earlier this year with only eight Republicans voting for it. The Senate companion bill has 42 backers, none of whom are Republicans, leaving it well short of the 60 votes needed to pass the chamber and head to Trump's desk. The White House has threatened to veto the bill.
But Schumer added that Democrats would try to force a vote on the House bill if Republicans bring red flag legislation to the Senate floor.
"Democrats in the Senate will seek to require that any ERPO bill that comes to the floor is accompanied by a vote on the House-passed universal background checks legislation," he said.