Lawmakers debate gun control measures after recent mass shootings

U.S.

WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Gun control is back in the U.S. political debate, in the wake of mass shootings in California, Boulder, Colorado, and Atlanta, Georgia.

Democrats see stricter gun control as a step toward addressing the problem. In March 2021, as the House of Representatives passed two gun control bills, Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed that the “solutions will save lives.”

Many Republicans disagree, arguing as Sen. Ted Cruz did that proposed laws seeking to require background checks on all firearms sales and transfers and to ban assault weapons are “ridiculous theater” that fail to reduce mass shootings.

According to the FBI, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which verifies whether a person can buy a gun, ran more than 300 million checks over the past 20 years — leading to nearly two million denials.

Louisiana Senator John Kennedy argues there are flaws in the system.

“The name of everyone who needs to be in the database is not in the database, and agencies that are responsible for sending in the names need to be made to do it,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy says he has a solution. His legislation would do just that along with ensuring the Justice Department prosecutes people who try to buy guns illegally.

“You know why we can’t pass it? Because the Democrats vote against it,” Kennedy said.

The Democrat-controlled House instead recently passed two bills that would expand requirements for background checks. But they’re unlikely to gain 60 votes in the Senate.

Press Secretary Jen Psaki says the White House will continue negotiations with Congress.

“We’ve even seen an openness by some Republicans to having a debate and discussion. We’ll take that,” Psaki said.

But Psaki says President Joe Biden is also considering executive orders. They could include boosting current background check systems and regulating the sale of untraceable homemade weapons known as “ghost guns.”

“Right now, we’re working on a couple of levers.” Psaki said. “We hope to have an update on that soon.”

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