Even though recent polls show that some 70 percent of Americans say there should be new legislation to regulate guns in the United States, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that the Senate will take up banking reform next week.
McConnell filed a motion to have a procedural vote on a bill sponsored by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) next Tuesday.. Once the banking bill has been debated and voted on, the GOP-controlled Senate will then tackle the issue of sex trafficking.
Despite McConnell’s behind the scenes moves to push gun bills down the docket, a Senate GOP aide tried to blame the delay on Democrats, saying they had refused to let any legislation move forward. McConnell echoed that, commenting:
“We tried to get it cleared yesterday, but the Democratic leader objected.”
Democrats, however, said the real obstacle is Utah Senator Mike Lee (R), who has objected to allowing the Cornyn-Murphy bill forward.
Cornyn-Murphy, it should be noted, would not make any dramatic changes to gun laws. As The Hill notes:
“It would give local and federal authorities more incentive to report relevant information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).”
But even that change is opposed by some Senate Republicans.
Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) complained Thursday that the proposed bill could potentially bar veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from obtaining weapons:
“You can’t take gun rights away in bulk. If you say everyone that has PTSD that’s a veteran, all their data will be dumped into a database and it will show up on a background check, that’s a problem.
“I’m for taking away gun rights from violent people but you have to do it one at a time, you can’t do it in bulk.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the Fix NICS bill is a good start, but falls far short of what’s needed to help prevent mass shootings at schools:
“If that is all Congress does, we won’t have done our job to keep America’s families safe.”
As of now, there’s no guarantee that McConnell and his GOP colleagues will even allow Cornyn-Murphy to reach the Senate floor. Apparently, banks matter more than children.