Schumer blasts 'red flag' gun legislation as 'ineffective cop out'

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic senators urge Trump administration to request emergency funding for coronavirus response Barr to testify before House Judiciary panel Graham won't call Barr to testify over Roger Stone sentencing recommendation 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.

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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 RubioCheese, wine importers reeling from Trump trade fight Peace Corps' sudden decision to leave China stirs blowback Lawmakers raise concerns over Russia's growing influence in Venezuela MORE (Fla.), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law Bipartisan lawmakers introduce bill to combat cyberattacks on state and local governments MORE (Ohio) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone Overnight Defense: Pentagon policy chief resigns at Trump's request | Trump wishes official 'well in his future endeavors' | Armed Services chair warns against Africa drawdown after trip GOP chairman after Africa trip: US military drawdown would have 'real and lasting negative consequences' MORE (S.C.), have talked about the idea of passing legislation that would provide grants to states to enact the laws.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpChasten Buttigieg: 'I've been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life' Lawmakers paint different pictures of Trump's 'opportunity zone' program We must not turn our heads from the effects of traumatic brain injuries MORE also name-checked the idea during his White House speech on Monday, while Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneMcConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills Senate votes to rein in Trump's power to attack Iran As many as eight GOP senators expected to vote to curb Trump's power to attack Iran 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 McConnellEverytown plans ad blitz on anniversary of House background check bill Kentucky state official says foreign adversaries 'routinely' scan election systems Don't let 'welfare for all' advocates derail administration's food stamp program reforms 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.