Photo by Greg Nash
Roughly two dozen Senate Democrats gathered Thursday on the steps of the Capitol surrounded by about a dozen armed guards to announce a new push for tougher gun-control laws.
The officers from the U.S. Capitol Police, who carried sidearms, were in addition to the regular detail paroling the Capitol ground due the large number of elected officials attending the event, according to a officer on the scene.
The Democratic push focuses on three areas: bolstering current background check requirements, closing “loopholes” on background checks when guns are bought at gun shows or online, and closing the “pipeline of illegal guns” by making gun trafficking a federal crime.
They echoed calls by President Obama following the mass shooting last week at a community college in Oregon in which he urged Americans to put pressure on lawmakers to take action to stop the scourge of gun violence in the country.
“We are asking, as the president said, to make their voices heard,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, “We expect there will be a groundswell.”
But in a GOP-controlled Congress, Republican senators were notably absent from Thursday’s press conference.
A Senate GOP aide said that Republican senators weren’t invited to participate in drafting the gun control principles or attend Thursday’s event.
The lobbying-wing of the National Rifle Association slammed Democrats, suggesting they are helping the administration “politicize” mass shootings.
“President Obama proudly admits that he wants to politicize these horrific events to push his gun control agenda – and his allies in Congress are happy to do his bidding. If Obama and gun control advocates were serious, they would address the underlying issue of America’s broken mental health system,” Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said.
(H/T) The Hill