Mitch McConnell dismisses calls to pass popular gun safety legislation as 'theatrics'


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stands against America, with essentially only the NRA in his corner.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is lashing out at Americans who have asked him to support gun safety proposals that are supported by an overwhelming number of people.

McConnell issued a statement on Monday after Trump spoke about the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend.

"Only serious, bipartisan, bicameral efforts will enable us to continue this important work and produce further legislation that can pass the Senate, pass the House, and earn the president’s signature," he wrote. "Partisan theatrics and campaign-trail rhetoric will only take us farther away from the progress all Americans deserve."

McConnell is holding up passage of the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, the package of legislation addressing gun safety that was passed by the House in February.

The bill would require background checks for all gun purchases and closes the gun show loophole. The provision is almost universally popular.

A 2018 poll found that 97% of the public supports background checks. It has support from 97% of gun owners, 97% of Republicans, and 99% of Democrats.

Even the Republican senators he works with have pushed for background checks.

"It is past time for Congress to take action and the Manchin-Toomey background check legislation represents an opportunity to make actual bipartisan progress to help keep Americans safe," wrote Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) on Monday.

Statements like Toomey's show that contrary to McConnell's posturing, there already is bipartisan support for background check legislation. There isn't a need to come up with legislation that has support across the aisle. It already exists.

Instead of allowing it to come to a vote, background check legislation has been put in the "legislative graveyard" of popular bills McConnell has obstructed. McConnell adopted the moniker "Grim Reaper" as he celebrated blocking the will of millions of Americans.

The Major Cities Chiefs Association, a coalition of police chiefs from across America, has repeatedly asked the Senate to take up the bill, but to no avail.

McConnell's position echoes that of the National Rifle Association, which has spent $1.6 million in the last few months to lobby against the bill and other gun safety provisions.

Americans want background checks. They have supported the efforts of the Democratic majority in the House to make them a part of the law. Republican senators have also joined Democrats.

The opposition almost completely consists of McConnell, his allies in the NRA, and no one else.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.