Leader Schumer And Speaker Pelosi Send Letter To President Trump Calling On President To Support House-Passed Bipartisan Background Checks Act And Help Save Lives

September 9, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today sent a letter to President Trump urging him to publicly support the House-passed, Bipartisan Background Checks Act, H.R.8., noting his recent show of support for stronger background checks. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated in early September that “if the president took a position on a bill, so that we knew we would actually be making a law, and not just having serial votes, I'd be happy to put it on the floor,” indicating that Republicans are prepared to follow President Trump’s lead on the issue of gun safety. Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi say Leader McConnell’s deference to President Trump makes the president “uniquely positioned” to influence Republicans to support background checks and bring H.R. 8 to the Senate floor for a vote.

Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi emphasize that the Bipartisan Background Checks Act would close the gaping private sale loophole that allows gun buyers to evade existing background check requirements—the very loophole that reportedly allowed the Odessa, Texas gunman to purchase his weapon. Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi urge President Trump to answer the calls of the American people and help save lives by showing support for the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, and not acceding to NRA-backed proposals or weak half-measures that would do nothing to stop the horrific spread of gun violence in the United States.

Leader Schumer and Speaker Pelosi’s letter to President Trump can be found here and below:

September 8, 2019

The Honorable Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Northwest

Washington, D.C.  20500

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing this letter because your urgent, personal intervention is needed to stem the endless massacres of our fellow Americans by gunfire.  In the month of August, 51 Americans were killed in mass shootings alone, and many others were killed in the daily tragedy of gun violence in our communities.  We have a responsibility to make our schools, shopping centers, houses of worship and other public places safer. The American people are crying out for their elected representatives to stop the epidemic of murder and mayhem that is shattering families and communities across the country.  You are uniquely positioned to answer their call.

On September 3rd, Majority Leader McConnell made the following statement: "We're in a discussion about what to do on the gun issue in the wake of these horrendous shootings. I said several weeks ago that if the president took a position on a bill, so that we knew we would actually be making a law, and not just having serial votes, I'd be happy to put it on the floor. The administration is in the process of studying what they're prepared to support, if anything, and I expect to get an answer to that next week."

Leader McConnell's statement demonstrates that Republicans in Congress are now prepared to follow you on the issue of gun safety.  This is a significant change because in the past, their fealty to the National Rifle Association prevented Republicans from supporting gun safety measures advanced by President Obama and every other president who has attempted to confront this issue. 

Just last month, you expressed support for stronger background checks which the NRA has long opposed.  You now have a historic opportunity to save lives simply by indicating your support for H.R. 8, the House-passed universal bipartisan background check legislation currently being blocked by Leader McConnell and the Republican majority in the Senate.

This bill would close the gaping loophole in the law that allows private gun sellers to evade existing background check requirements.  While closing this loophole will not stop every shooting, it will undoubtedly save many lives by helping to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals.  In fact, this is the very loophole that reportedly allowed the gunman in the Odessa, Texas shootings to buy the assault rifle he used to murder seven people and to injure more than 20 others on August 31st.

We implore you to seize this moment when your leadership and influence over Republicans in Congress on the issue of guns is so critical.  Please do not squander it by acceding to NRA-backed proposals or other weak ideas that will do nothing to stop the continuing, horrific spread of gun violence and may, in some cases, actually make our communities less safe. We believe you have a unique opportunity to save American lives by giving political cover to your fellow Republicans to finally pass meaningful gun safety legislation.  The time for you to act is now, before more lives are lost.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Sincerely,

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