Mitch McConnell has blocked a bill strengthening background checks for nearly two full years.
A majority of Americans continue to support stricter gun laws, with 57% saying gun laws should be strengthened, according to a new Gallup poll released on Monday.
The news comes as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to block a popular gun control bill the House passed in February 2019, which would require background checks for all gun purchases in the United States. It's one of hundreds of bills the House passed that McConnell has refused to put up for a vote.
Polling from around the time the bill passed showed that 90% of Americans backed background checks for all gun purchases — including 89% of Republicans and 93% of gun owners.
McConnell said he was blocking the legislation because it did not get sign off from Donald Trump — who threatened to veto the gun control legislation if it made it to his desk.
"I still await guidance from the White House as to what [Trump] thinks he’s comfortable signing," McConnell said in September 2019, seven months after the gun control legislation passed the House, according to the Associated Press. "If and when that happens, then we’ll have a real possibility of actually changing the law and hopefully making some progress."
President-elect Joe Biden, however, supports universal background checks.
On his campaign website, Biden vowed to "enact universal background check legislation, requiring a background check for all gun sales with very limited exceptions, such as gifts between close family members."
It's still unclear which party will control the Senate when a new Congress is sworn in in January.
Two GOP-held seats in Georgia went to runoffs, after no candidate garnered at least 50% of the vote. If Democrats win both of those seats, Democrats would regain control of the Senate, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaking vote.
Even if McConnell did continue to control the Senate, he could not use Trump's refusal to sign a background check bill as a reason not to put the popular background check bill up for a vote.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.