In wake of shootings, Dems urge McConnell to reconvene Senate for background check vote

Mitch McConnell. Photo by Gage Skidmore, license CC SA 2.0 via Flickr

In the wake of deadly shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Democrats are hopping mad that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is sitting on a pair of measures that would strengthen background checks. House Democrats passed the bills in February, but they have been languishing, and McConnell offered his usual hypocritical thoughts in the wake of the El Paso shooting.

Now Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are demanding that McConnell call the Senate back from its August recess to vote on H.R.8 and H.R.1112, measures that require background checks on all firearms sales across the country and strengthen existing checks, CommonDreams reports.

“The House of Representatives has passed background check legislation,” Brown told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “The Senate could meet tomorrow. I hope that Senator McConnell would bring the Senate back tomorrow and pass the background check bill and send it to the president and the president must sign it. Period.”

There’s been a slight monkey wrench, however. McConnell just fractured his shoulder early Sunday and is recuperating at home, Politico reports. Apparently, he plans to work from home and has been in contact with Republican sens. John Cornyn (Texas) and Rob Portman (Ohio), where the shootings have occurred. And he resorted to his usual behavior.

“This afternoon he contacted Senators Cornyn and Portman to express his deepest sympathies for the people of El Paso and Dayton and discuss the senseless tragedies of this weekend,” said David Popp, McConnell’s communications director.”

Were you really expecting anything different from McConnell?

Police and federal investigators are still trying to determine how the alleged gunmen in El Paso and Dayton got hold of the military-style semi-automatic weapons they reportedly used to mow down and kill 29 people. They are also trying to find out if background checks were involved.

In the U.S., 90 percent of the public supports universal background checks and Sanders argues this would be a “first step to addressing our serious gun violence epidemic,” that would hopefully curtail mass shootings.

And Sanders has stepped up his game by petitioning his supporters to call for McConnell to take action.

“My colleagues know that there is action we can take to stem this slaughter,” he wrote. “And we know this because ours is the only major country on Earth with this level of gun violence. We can do it this week. We can take steps that we know will make us safer. And we should.”

Sanders is definitely not wrong. There’s also another way to make positive change: Make sure McConnell is booted from office in 2020.

You can watch CNN’s Jake Tapper and Brown discuss the issue below:

Featured image by Gage Skidmore, license CC SA 2.0 via Flickr