Pelosi: 'People are dying because Sen. McConnell hasn't acted' on gun violence


The pressure is on the Senate to act on previously passed House legislation, the speaker said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi left no doubt Tuesday as to who was responsible for the lack of congressional action to address America's gun violence epidemic: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

When asked by a reporter if she had regretted not calling the House back from the August recess to address gun violence, Pelosi defended Democrats, saying McConnell had not lifted a finger to deal with the issue himself.

"We did our job," Pelosi said, referencing gun safety legislation the House passed in February.

"Lives are at stake. Sen. McConnell is standing in the way," she said. "Don't ask me what we haven't done. We have done it. And if you are annoyed with my impatience, it's because people are dying because Sen. McConnell hasn't acted."

She added, "Why don't you go ask him if he has any regrets for all the people who died because he hasn't acted?"

On Tuesday, McConnell announced that he would not take up any legislation on gun safety without Trump's permission.

"Until the White House gives us some indication of what the president is willing to sign, we're waiting," he said.

The House-passed legislation Pelosi mentioned on Tuesday, which includes a bill requiring universal background checks, has been blocked by McConnell for almost 200 days.

That background check bill would have closed a loophole used by the Midland-Odessa mass shooter to purchase an assault-style weapon, which he then used to kill eight people last month.

McConnell's refusal to take action to stop the epidemic of gun violence comes amid overwhelming public support for gun reform. A string of recent polls show roughly 90% of Americans support universal background check legislation. That number includes a similar percentage of gun owners.

In the aftermath of the early August mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, police chiefs, mayors, veterans, and Democratic leaders tried to pressure McConnell to act, to no avail.

"Mitch McConnell's refusal to even broach gun safety abdicates our responsibility to keep people safe," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), said in an email to Shareblue on Tuesday. In language similar to Pelosi, Swalwell added that more people would die from gun violence "because Senator McConnell continues to put the priorities of the NRA over our right to live."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.