Senate Democrats say they will move forward on new gun legislation, promising to bring a bill expanding background checks on all firearm sales to the floor for a vote, despite the uphill climb ahead to garner the 60 votes needed for it to pass.
The promise for a Senate vote came after the House passed two pieces of legislation expanding background checks on March 11.
“H.R. 8 will be on the floor of the Senate and we will see where everybody stands,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said of the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, which would expand background checks for all firearm sales or transfers in the country. “No more thoughts and prayers. A vote is what we need. A vote.”
Getting the 60 votes needed to break the filibuster on the bill remains a difficult feat, despite optimism from one of the bill’s sponsors.
“I don’t think we should accept that there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate for universal background checks,” Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat of Connecticut said last month. “So much has changed. The political power of the anti-gun violence movement is infinitely stronger, the (National Rifle Association) is a shell of itself, and so I’ve had a lot of Republican members come to me and express their willingness to take a new look.”
Schumer acknowledged the possibility the vote will fail.
Still, Democrats see this as an opportunity to get Republicans on the record with their votes against background checks, which remain a popular idea among Americans.
In Oct. 2019, Pew reported that “large majorities in both parties continue to favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks.”
In remarks following the mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado, President Biden called on Congress to take steps like re-enacting an assault weapons ban.
“I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take common-sense steps that will save the lives in the future, and to urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to act,” Biden said.