The House passed multiple gun safety bills more than five months ago, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is blocking all of them.
After the nation endured two more horrific mass shootings over the weekend, the nation's police chiefs spent time Monday morning begging Republicans in Congress to take action.
The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) urged Congress to pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act.
"The lives of the people we serve and the brave men and women we lead are being cut short by our Nation's failure to act," the MCCA said on Monday.
The group also linked to a policy statement from June 2018 imploring Congress to take action to reduce the epidemic of gun violence. At the time, Republicans were in control of the House and Senate, and took no action whatsoever.
Democrats regained control of the House in January 2019. Before the end of February, the House passed two major pieces of gun safety legislation, including the Bipartisan Background Checks Act.
As the title implies, H.R. 8 would require background checks on all gun purchases and close loopholes for gun purchases at gun shows. The idea for the legislation has broad, bipartisan support. In fact, one 2018 poll shows 97% of the public supports universal background checks. And that includes 97% of gun owners, 97% of Republicans, and 99% of Democrats.
Despite the wide support, 190 Republicans still opposed the bill in the House.
Also in February, the House passed a bill to close the "Charleston loophole," so named because it is the loophole that allowed the shooter in the 2015 mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, to obtain weapons. That attack left nine people dead.
After the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, former congresswoman Gabby Giffords spoke about the urgent need for Republicans to stop dragging their feet.
"I have no more words. I only have anger," Giffords said in a statement. "President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must call the Senate back from August recess immediately. We cannot afford to wait another day for lawmakers to address this horrific national public safety threat."
The background check bill has sat on McConnell's desk for 159 days. Of those 159 days, there have been mass shootings on 103 days. Since more than 20 children were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, there have been 2,193 mass shootings in America, and Republicans continue to block any and all legislation that could help.
"Every day we fail to take action, we choose this fate," Giffords said. "Every day politicians fail to acknowledge and act upon this crisis, they allow the gun violence epidemic to continue."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.