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Top Democrats press Trump on background checks legislation

Top Democrats press Trump on background checks legislation
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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs Protect America's houses of worship in year-end appropriations package MORE (D-N.Y) and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiObama chief economist says Democrats should accept smaller coronavirus relief package if necessary The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? MORE (D-Calif.) are calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE to support House-passed legislation that would strengthen background checks for gun buyers.

Pelosi and Schumer in a letter to Trump released Monday pointed to the recent spate of mass shootings across America as a reason why the legislation is needed.

“The American people are crying out for their elected representatives to stop the epidemic of murder and mayhem that is shattering families and communities across the country,” their letter states. “You are uniquely positioned to answer their call.”

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Congress is expected to make gun reform its top priority as it returns this week from summer recess, though both Pelosi and Schumer indicated they need Trump’s support to pass any meaningful legislation.

The letter noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFive things to know about Georgia's Senate runoffs Obama chief economist says Democrats should accept smaller coronavirus relief package if necessary Memo to Biden: Go big — use the moment to not only rebuild but to rebuild differently MORE (R-Ky.) said earlier this month that “if the president took a position on a bill, so that we knew we would actually be making a law, and not just having serial votes, I'd be happy to put it on the floor.”

The two top Democrats urged Trump to defy the National Rifle Association (NRA) and support the legislation that would expand background checks to almost all gun buyers. The House passed the bill in February, but it has gone nowhere in the Senate.

“We implore you to seize this moment when your leadership and influence over Republicans in Congress on the issue of guns is so critical,” their letter reads. “Please do not squander it by acceding to NRA-backed proposals or other weak ideas that will do nothing to stop the continuing, horrific spread of gun violence and may, in some cases, actually make our communities less safe.”

Trump initially showed interest in taking up background checks following back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio that claimed more than 30 lives. He later softened his position, telling NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre that background checks for gun purchases are off the table.

Schumer and Pelosi are scheduled to hold a press conference Monday to discuss the pending legislation.