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213 Democratic lawmakers call on McConnell to bring up background checks bills

The Hill logo The Hill 8/7/2019 Juliegrace Brufke
Mike Thompson et al. standing next to a person in a suit and tie: 213 Democratic lawmakers call on McConnell to bring up background checks bills © Greg Nash 213 Democratic lawmakers call on McConnell to bring up background checks bills

More than 200 Democratic House lawmakers led by Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) are trying to ramp up pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to call a vote on House-passed legislation aimed at strengthening background checks for gun purchases.

In a letter sent to McConnell on Wednesday, following two back-to-back mass shootings last weekend, the 213 lawmakers argued the legislation is backed by the majority of Americans and would implement a live-saving policy.

"We strongly urge you to take immediate action to call the Senate back into session to pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and H.R 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act," they wrote.

"In February, the new Democratic House Majority took swift action to pass these bipartisan bills which not only save lives, but also has the support of more than 90 percent of the American people. Since that time, you have allowed more than 150 days to pass and countless lives have been lost including those most recently lost in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, Chicago, Illinois and the many others who will never make the headlines."

The group said background checks are proven to help prevent criminals from obtaining weapons and deter future instances of mass violence.

"This inaction must stop. We know background checks save lives. Every day background checks stop more than 170 felons and 50 domestic abusers from getting a gun," the continued.

"Any delay to pass commonsense gun violence prevention legislation only increases the chances that more innocent people in America may suffer from the tragic and needless loss caused by gun violence."

The letter follows House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) calling on McConnell to cut the upper chamber's August recess short to bring up gun control measures.

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