Top Democrats press Trump on background checks legislation

Top Democrats press Trump on background checks legislation
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Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerToomey on gun reform: 'Beto O'Rourke is not helping' Schumer, Pelosi push Trump to back universal background check bill Sinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey MORE (D-N.Y) and House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiRomney: Trump asking Ukraine to investigate political rival 'would be troubling in the extreme' Pelosi: Whistleblower complaint 'must be addressed immediately' Democrats must embrace Israel and denounce anti-Semitism in the party MORE (D-Calif.) are calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' 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 McConnellToomey on gun reform: 'Beto O'Rourke is not helping' Election meddling has become the new normal of US diplomacy DC statehood push faces long odds despite record support 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.