WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — In the wake of two mass shootings in two states on opposite sides of the country that left a total of 18 people dead in a single week, President Joe Biden has called on Congress to pass more gun control measures.
“This is not and should not be a partisan issue. This is an American issue,” Biden said Tuesday. “It will save lives; American lives.”
Biden and Democrats want to expand background checks and ban assault weapons. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said the time to act is overdue.
“Universal background checks are not only supported by 90% of Americans, but a majority of gun owners,” he said.
But they face an uphill battle. Republicans remain staunchly opposed.
“Every time there’s a shooting, we play this ridiculous theater,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said at a Tuesday hearing.
He said the two pending bills to expand background checks won’t solve larger problems that he says contribute to mass shootings and “would do nothing to stop these murders.”
Both bills already passed the House this month with support from a handful of Republicans.
Sen. Roger Marshall, R-Kan., who blames mass shootings on a mental health problem rather than a gun problem, argues the rules would punish law-abiding gun owners. He said he’s skeptical they have any chance of moving forward in the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is promising to hold a debate on the floor, but he doesn’t have enough votes to push the bills through.
Moderate Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he opposes them and he’s going to propose his own measure that would still allow private gun sales without background checks.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House is considering a “range” of executive actions to address gun violence. Those moves would not require Congress’ approval.