On Tuesday, the GOP leaders in both, the House and Senate, took slightly different turns in their responses to the mass shooting incident at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. The incident has revived a national debate about guns.
Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who is the Senate GOP leader, embraced centrism and believes that the Senate should only focus on the legislation that can actually pass. McConnell holds a one-vote majority and is currently seeking to win seats in Florida and other states in this year’s midterm elections.
According to Mitch McConnell, the bill sponsored by the Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (Texas) and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) should be the one getting majority attention. He thinks that this bill would enhance the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
In a statement, Mitch McConnell told reporters, “We should try to make some progress on bills that we agree on. What Sen. Cornyn is suggesting is to take something we all agree on — not in any way claiming it’s a panacea — but at least show some progress toward dealing with one element of the problem.”
On the other hand, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is not in favor of passing a legislation regarding this matter. Instead, he along with the House lawmakers are ‘more interested’ to perform an investigation associated with multiple law enforcement regulations that permit the 19-year-old to operate unrestricted.
Ryan wants the law enforcement authorities to first pass new laws for missing warning signs before finding out what happened at the incident.
“We need to get to the bottom of how these breakdowns occurred,” Ryan said. “We are going to be looking at the system failures.”
Conservatives have put Ryan under heavy pressure due to his recent statements and action. Despite President Donald Trump has shown public support for some gun control measures and also agreed to the idea of raising the minimum age to 21 for purchasing rifles. Ryan along with other House Republicans had a diverse meaning on Tuesday.
A leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in a statement, “Here’s what makes me mad: All these proposals don’t address the problem. There was like 36 times this kid interacted with government. It looks like the sheriff’s office didn’t do their job. And now the answer is more government?”
Charles Schumer (N.Y.), who is the Senate Democratic Leader, is supportive of the proposal that will improve and enhance reporting to the background check database. However, he also wants to expand background checks to shield the sales by people who are not classified as licensed dealers at gun shows or online.
“We in Congress have an obligation to pass meaningful gun safety legislation that will save lives and tackle as many of the loopholes and problems with our gun laws as we can,” Schumer told reporters.