SAN DIEGO — A group of more than 200 federal lawmakers, including four representing San Diego County, called on the U.S. Senate Wednesday to put its summer recess on hold and vote on gun-control legislation in the wake of three deadly shootings in the span of eight days.
Reps. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, Mike Levin, D-Oceanside, Scott Peters, D-San Diego, and Juan Vargas, D-San Diego, and 210 other House Democrats sent a letter to Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, calling on him to bring the chamber back into session to vote on two House bills that would enhance background checks for gun purchases.
The House of Representatives passed the bills in late February that would mandate unlicensed gun dealers to conduct a background check on purchasers and extend the background check waiting period from three to 10 days. The Senate has not acted on either bill other than to read them into the Congressional record in March.
“This inaction must stop,” the group of lawmakers wrote in the letter. “We know background checks save lives. Every day background checks stop more than 170 felons and 50 domestic abusers from getting a gun. 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 cause by gun violence.”
Congressional Democrats and a handful of Republican lawmakers have dialed up their pressure on the Republican-controlled Senate and President Donald Trump to pass stricter gun control in recent days after shootings in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left more than 30 people dead and dozens more injured.
In a statement released Monday, McConnell said he spoke with the heads of three Senate committees and encouraged them to have “bipartisan discussions of potential solutions” to protect American citizens and avoid infringing on the Second Amendment.
“Only serious, bipartisan, bicameral efforts will enable us to continue this important work and produce legislation that can pass the Senate, pass the House and earn the president’s signature,” McConnell said. “Partisan theatrics and campaign-trail rhetoric will only take us farther away from the progress all Americans deserve.”
The two bills passed in February each received a smattering of Republican votes in the House but were largely approved by Democrats. Davis and the rest of the coalition said roughly 90% of Americans approve of the subject matter of the two bills.
“The American people are tired of waiting for the Senate to do something — anything — to keep people safe,” Davis said. “The bills passed by the House back in February are bipartisan and increased background checks enjoy overwhelming support of the American people. There is no excuse not to pass these bills.”