09.29.19

SCHUMER: DESPITE IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY, CONGRESS & WHITE HOUSE SHOULD MOVE FWD ON UNIVERSAL GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS; OVAL POW-WOW BETWEEN LAPIERRE & TRUMP, WHERE NRA ADMONISHED WHITE HOUSE FOR ‘GAMES,’ IS NO WAY TO GOVERN; CONGRESS CAN MOVE ON ISSUES WHILE INQUIRY ADVANCES

On Heels Of President Trump’s Oval Office Meeting With Wayne LaPierre, Schumer Says NRA’s Lavish Spending, Strong Ties To Russia & Multiple Investigations Should Be No Comfort For A President Who Must Prove To The American People He Can Govern Amid Inquiry

Senator Says First Action Amid House Inquiry Should Be Passing Universal Gun Background Checks

Schumer To Admin: Allowing NRA To Call The Shots Amid Impeachment Inquiry Will Backfire     

On the heels of an Oval Office meeting where the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre told President Trump to “stop the games,” U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is announcing a challenge to the President: to govern.

Schumer said that despite the ongoing House impeachment inquiry into the President’s actions on Ukraine, Congress and the White House should still—and immediately—move forward on universal gun background checks. Schumer said last Friday’s Oval pow-wow between Trump and LaPierre, where the NRA head admonished the President for even entertaining gun safety legislation, is no way to govern. He said Congress is still able to move on serious issues like gun violence while the impeachment inquiry advances, and that it must. He added that President Trump must show the American people he can govern and warned that allowing the scandal-plagued NRA to call the shots will backfire.

“President Trump must do whatever it takes to resist the clouded comfort he craves from the likes of Wayne LaPierre and the NRA, because it will lead to inaction on one of the single biggest issues Americans want addressed: universal gun background checks,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “I challenge President Trump today to govern. Allowing the NRA or other nefarious interests to call the shots amid this impeachment inquiry will only backfire on this White House, and the American people will be worse off for it. Congress can still move on major issues while the House impeachment inquiry advances, and it must."

This past Friday, President Trump met in the Oval Office with Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association, to discuss the ongoing push for legislation to address the issue of gun violence. It was widely reported that during the meeting the NRA head sought to halt any progress and went so far as to tell the president to “stop the games,” in reference to measures to meaningfully address the issue. Schumer, today, said an admonishment of this kind sets the stage for dangerous inaction on the issue of gun safety and is, overall, no way to govern. Schumer says that amidst the impeachment inquiry the gears of government can still move and that anyone who suggests otherwise is advancing a false narrative. Schumer says the best example of governing for this president to seize on, amidst the House impeachment inquiry, would be for the president to call for a Senate vote on the bipartisan, House-passed universal gun background checks bill. Pushing the Republican-led Senate, which has thus far refused to act, to take up and pass this bill would allow President Trump to deliver a huge win on a policy overwhelmingly supported by the American people.  

Schumer, the author of the original Brady background check bill, has continuously kept the pressure on Leader McConnell to allow the Senate to vote on the aforementioned legislation—H.R. 8—that the House of Representatives already passed in February. The legislation would enact universal background checks on all gun purchases, and address dangerous purchasing loopholes, both direly-needed actions necessary to address the scourge. He noted that since the House’s passage in February, more than 14,000 people have died as a result of gun violence.

Federal law already requires licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks on gun purchasers, but this legislation would address a common loophole by requiring unlicensed gun sellers to perform background checks as well. While federal law prohibits certain people, including those with felony convictions, domestic abusers, and those adjudicated mentally unfit from obtaining or possessing firearms, major loopholes still allow people who should not possess a gun to easily acquire one. The current background check law is enforced mainly via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which licensed gun dealers are required to cross-check before selling or transferring a firearm. According to the Giffords organization, since the 1990s, NICS has stopped over three million gun sales or transfers from licensed dealers.

Presently, loopholes in the background check law allow unlicensed sellers to sell guns at gun shows, online, and person-to-person without conducting any background check on the purchaser, which can have potentially dangerous consequences. According to the Giffords organization, up to 80% of firearms used for criminal purposes are obtained without a background check. Schumer points out that while this is not the only action Congress needs to take on guns and violence, passing H.R. 8 is a sensible first step Americans have long begged to achieve.

According to Quinnipiac, 97% of Americans, including 97% of gun owners and 97% of Republicans, support requiring a background check for every gun sale. 

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