Schumer to hash out gun control plan after mass shootings 

Schumer to hash out gun control plan after mass shootings 
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerWhite House draws ire of progressives amid voting rights defeat Murkowski to vote 'no' on voting rights bill Harris to preside over Senate for voting rights debate MORE (D-N.Y.) says he will discuss the Senate’s plan for addressing gun violence with Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySenate GOP blocks voting rights bill Congress barrels toward debt cliff End the practice of hitting children in public schools MORE (D-Conn.) and other colleagues in the wake of mass shootings in Boulder and Atlanta.

Schumer says his preference is to focus on legislation to expand background checks for gun sales, though he isn’t ruling out additional legislation to limit the sale of high-capacity magazines and assault-style weapons.

The Democratic leader also declined to say whether Republican opposition to gun control legislation would make his caucus more likely to eliminate the Senate’s filibuster rule, which requires that legislation have 60 votes to proceed to final passage.


“I am going to meet with Sen. Murphy and other Democrats this week — that had been set up already — and we’ll figure out the best path forward,” Schumer told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

He noted that expanded background checks has support from 90 percent of Americans but added “that is not to say we wouldn’t do other things as well.”

Murphy emerged as a leading Senate advocate for stricter gun control measures after 20 children were killed in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012.

The House passed two gun control measures earlier this month: a proposal to require background checks for all gun sales and transfers and a second to give the FBI more time to conduct background checks of people who are flagged by the national instant check system.

But the legislation is already running into trouble in the Senate, where centrist Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSchumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster Biden says push to advance elections overhaul 'far from over' Pelosi quashes reports on Jan. 6 select committee MORE (D-W.Va.) has raised concerns.

Manchin told reporters Tuesday that he doesn’t support the House-passed background-checks bill.


"What the House passed? Not at all," he said when asked about the legislation.

Manchin argued that background checks should be required for all commercial gun sales and transfers but not those between friends and families.

"I come from a gun culture. I'm a law-abiding gun owner," he explained. “Commercial transactions should be background checked. You don't know a person."

"If I know a person, no," he added.

Asked about Manchin’s comments, Schumer repeated, “I’m going to sit down with Murphy and others and we’re going to figure out the best path forward.”

“We will put these bills on the floor. I’ve said that and it will happen,” he added.

Schumer said he hasn’t yet spoken to the White House about President BidenJoe BidenBaltimore police chief calls for more 'boots on the ground' to handle crime wave Biden to deliver remarks at Sen. John Warner's funeral Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump MORE’s call for a nationwide ban on assault weapons.

"I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take commonsense steps that will save lives in the future,” Biden said at the White House Tuesday.

But the Democratic leader hasn’t spelled out the floor agenda for the work period scheduled for when the Senate returns in mid-April after a two-week Easter and Passover recess.

Asked if gun control legislation would come to the floor in April, Schumer said, “There’s a whole lot of things that we want to do.”

“We still have a lot of sub-Cabinet people to confirm, we have judges to confirm, we have a lot of bipartisan legislation that’s being talked about,” he said. “And we have a lot of bills that came over from the House that we want to put on the floor and get votes on and hopefully pass them.”

But Schumer promised there will be a gun violence debate on the floor sometime soon.

“We’re not going to do what [Senate Republican Leader Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] did and never let a vote occur, never let anything see the light of day. We have to figure out the best way to get the most done,” he said.