Schumer Remarks At Press Event With Republican Rep. Peter King Urging Leader McConnell To Put The Bipartisan House-Passed Background Checks Bill On The Senate Floor For A Vote ASAP

August 6, 2019

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today held a joint press conference with Republican Rep. Peter King at a Walmart in Westbury, New York, urging Leader McConnell to put the bipartisan House-passed background checks bill on the Senate floor for a vote ASAP. Below are his remarks, which can also be found here.

Now we’re here today amidst the continued national mourning for the horrible loss of life of Americans in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. We just learned the death toll climbed with the passing of another person in El Paso. And reports like that and what you hear from the past three days, what you see on television is just wrenching.

Poor, innocent people terrorized. Many killed. Many more mourning those who are lost. And even those who didn’t lose any loved ones; the fear, the fear of what happened is real. But we’re also here because these hateful acts of violence can occur anywhere in America. Anywhere. A crazed person can go online, get an idea, and cause huge havoc.

The Walmart was in El Paso but it really could be anywhere in America. Even here. As long as easy access to weapons of war remain the un-addressed crisis.

We’ve lost more Americans in these two days, in Dayton and El Paso, than were lost in Afghanistan in 2017 and 2018 combined. Just think of that. And there are other acts this year, too, they’ve shocked us to the core.

And the American gun violence epidemic has delivered more than 250 mass shootings to this nation since the beginning of the year. El Paso and Dayton were number 250 and number 251 mass shooting this year, That’s just about one a day. Too many American lives have been lost. And quite frankly, we’re here on Long Island and we know we’ve had our own massacres who remember what happened at the train station and several other incidents that tore our hearts out.

And so we are here today… no, let me just say one more thing. You never really heal. And Americans more than ever are looking behind their shoulders to see if someone with a gun potentially engaging in a mass shooting near them. So there’s pain and there’s fear.

Today, Peter King, a Republican, and myself, a Democrat, are here to say: enough is enough. We are calling on Leader McConnell to bring the bill that passed the House—that Peter King bravely sponsored—to the floor of the Senate ASAP. If that bill comes to the floor of the Senate, I believe it will pass. I believe it will pass.

This is the bill. It’s H.R. 8. It’s a piece of paper, but it’s a piece of paper that could save lives. This piece of paper represents more than just about anything else that could be done to stop the violence; such as occurred in Dayton and El Paso. It had bipartisan support in the House and if Leader McConnell would simply bring this bill to the Senate, now, I believe it will pass.

We’re saying to Leader McConnell: do the right thing. Gavel the Senate to an emergency session so we can take immediate action on the bipartisan, already passed, gun legislation that Peter and others had successfully shepherded through the House of Representatives.

150 days have slipped by since the House passed the bill. And all we’ve heard, unfortunately, from Leader McConnell was silence. We can get this done.

I’m the author of the Brady Law, back in 1993. But there are loopholes, people have gotten around the idea that there should be background checks. I don’t think—almost no American believe felons should get guns. Almost no Americans believe those adjudicated mentally ill should get guns. Almost no Americans believe spousal abusers should get guns. That’s all this bill does. It’s all it does. But it will save a whole lot of lives; a whole lot of lives.

No more online purchase loophole. No more Gun show loophole. If you want to buy a gun, you have to get a background check. That is what this law would do.

But we wrote the law back in 1994, there was no online so there was no loophole to close. Gun shows were just something where people exhibited old-fashioned guns. It’s now become a place where criminals and others can buy guns. And so we have to update the law and make America safer.

90% of Americans support this law. 80% of gun owners support this law. It’s a very powerful lobby that fights against it, but their day has come. Their day is over. We can get this done.

And now let me call on someone who’s shown great courage in pushing this legislation through the House. And he is a colleague in joining me of asking Leader McConnell to bring it to the floor of the Senate.