What They’re Saying: Editorial Boards Across The Country Continue To Call On President Trump And Senator Mitch McConnell To Take Action On Universal Background Checks.

September 10, 2019


Washington Post Editorial: No, Sens. McConnell and Blunt. You’re the Ones Who Need to Step Up. “The House has passed bipartisan gun legislation that includes expanding federal background checks. A new Post-ABC News Poll shows overwhelming support for the reform, across party and demographic lines. House Democratic leaders say they hope to pass additional reforms, including a ban on assault weapons. Taking weapons of war off the streets makes sense to us. If senators think otherwise, okay, make the case. Instead, Mr. McConnell simply refuses to act until Mr. Trump comes to a decision on what type of bill he would support. This, as he and Mr. Blunt well know, is a fool’s game.” [Washington Post, 9/9/19]

USA Today Editorial: Odessa Mass Shooting Debunks Argument Against Universal Background Checks. “The House months ago passed legislation calling for universal background checks. The Senate should do the same, showing the same willingness as Walmart CEO Doug McMillon to defy the NRA… Doing so earlier could well have allowed a toddler to grow up with her face unmarred by a bullet wound, a mail carrier to finish her shift alive, a father to survive a traffic light, a son to live out a day with his parents and a truck driver to safely arrive home to his family over Labor Day weekend.” [USA Today, 9/9/19]

Washington Post Editorial: Walmart is Acting to Curb Gun Violence. How About Congress? “Tuesday's announcement - notably its call to Congress to increase background checks and consider a new ban on assault weapons - showed a bold willingness to take a lead on this fraught issue. That Kroger quickly joined Walmart in asking customers not to openly carry guns in its stores and also called for stricter background checks underscored the importance of the country's largest employer paving the way… We hope Republicans in Congress who refuse to wake up to the need for gun reform find their stance is bad for business, too.” [Washington Post, 9/5/19]

Washington Post Editorial: Of Course Trump Backtracks on Gun Reform. He Lacks the Courage. “If the president is expecting a Republican Senate to send him a gun-control bill without his strong, public backing, he will be waiting a long time. This is the same party that blocked minimal gun-safety reforms after a shooter murdered 26 children and staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School - and after every other gun-related atrocity since.” [Washington Post, 8/20/19]

New York Times Editorial: Trump Retreats, Again, on Guns. “Americans have indeed seen this tragedy far too many times — and are on track to see it many more. Mr. Trump was spot on with his observation that Republican lawmakers are terrified of the gun lobby, to the point of consistently prioritizing its desires over those of their voters, not to mention the good of the nation. The big question now is whether the president has what it takes to show leadership. For anything meaningful to get done, he will need to stop equivocating and flip-flopping and make clear that he expects lawmakers to meet the moment — or else.” [New York Times, 8/20/19]

Bloomberg Editorial: Some People Just Shouldn’t Have Guns. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose Republican majority has been anchored by tens of millions of additional spending by the NRA, is talking too. He said that after the Senate returns from recess in September he’ll put background checks and red-flag laws ‘front and center.’… The House of Representatives earlier this year passed legislation for comprehensive background checks. If the horrors of El Paso and Dayton have made McConnell think again, he’ll move similar legislation next month. Or perhaps the intention is to let the recess drain the urgency from the issue as popular outrage subsides. If so, voters should ensure that doesn’t happen.” [Bloomberg, 8/15/19]

Chicago Tribune (IL) Editorial: Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Clever Offer to Sen. Ted Cruz: Come to Chicago to Discuss Gun Control. “Maybe Cruz can make the case to Lightfoot why it’s pointless to try to adopt background checks that will block felons and mentally disturbed people from buying guns they are not supposed to have. But if he has a halfway-open mind, a visit to Chicago could teach him a lot.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/9/19]

Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) Editorial: Walmart’s Move on Guns and Ammunition Sends an Important Message to Congress: People Want Action. “The fact remains that two major American retailers serving mainstream, middle-class, and presumably patriotic customers have concluded it is good business and in the public interest to defy an NRA accustomed to getting its way. These are economics-driven moves supported by extensive market research — and Congress should pay attention. It’s time for lawmakers accustomed to cowering before the perceived power of the NRA to step up, and act in the best interest of citizens.” [The Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/9/19]

Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Editorial: Trump Should Listen to Swing State Voters on Guns. “Congress returns to Washington this week with gun legislation at the top of its agenda. The Democratic-controlled House has already passed universal background checks. But without a strong push from the president for sensible laws to help deter mass shootings, they stand little chance of getting through the GOP-run Senate. So what is Trump waiting for?” [Wisconsin State Journal, 9/8/19]

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA) Editorial: The Real Challenge of Gun Debate. “The House of Representatives has passed bills that would strengthen background checks and waiting periods… McConnell has said he will call for a vote only if he believes it can pass and if he has assurance President Trump will sign it. That is not how government is supposed to work. The work needs to be done whether you know how things turn out or not. The Steelers don’t just play the games they know they can win. Football shouldn’t be a more genuine meeting of minds and effort than debate on the floor of the Senate. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 9/8/19]

Tampa Bay Times (FL) Editorial: How Many More Americans Will Be Killed Before Congress Acts on Gun Safety? “Passing meaningful gun-safety reforms is not an issue in the Democratically controlled House, which approved legislation requiring universal background checks in February. The issue is the Republican-controlled Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has long followed the wishes of the NRA. McConnell says he won't bring any gun-safety reforms up for debate unless they have support from President Donald Trump, which is a weak excuse to do nothing. Trump has sent conflicting signals about his intentions regarding universal background checks and red-flag laws, and he has shown no interest in anything else.” [Tampa Bay Times, 9/6/19]

Newark Star-Ledger (NJ) Editorial: It’s Time for Actions on Guns. Watch Trump and McConnell Run Out the Clock. “Because this is beyond dispute: If the universal background checks bill passed by the House in February was posted in Mitch McConnell’s Senate and signed into law by Donald Trump, massacres like the one in Odessa would be less common.” [Star-Ledger, 9/5/19]

New York Daily News (NY) Editorial: In the Crosshairs: America’s Largest Brick-and-Mortar Retailer Draws a Line on Guns. “It's a devastating real-world indictment of the ‘more guns, less crime’ orthodoxy that Republicans in Congress still pitifully cling to against all evidence, made all the more powerful because an El Paso Walmart was where a gunman killed 22 people last month, a month in which 53 people died in mass shootings… But unless and until Congress requires universal background checks on all firearm sales; strengthens red-flag laws; and outright bans assault rifles and high-capacity magazines that are the equipment of choice for so many massacres, America will remain one nation, under the gun.” [Daily News, 9/4/19]

Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Editorial: Where Walmart Leads on Guns, Will Others Follow? “Congress answers to the gun lobby, with its tens of millions of dollars to throw around. It answers, as well, to a relative minority of gun-defending extremists who control Republican primaries in red states and — thanks to gerrymandering — congressional districts… Had there been a law requiring a background check for all sales, as Walmart appears to favor, those seven people killed in Texas might be alive today. Walmart, for a whole host of likely reasons, did the right thing. Who will be next?” [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/4/19]

Quad City Times (IA) Editorial: Still Waiting for Congress, White House. “As McConnell said, he's not going to bring anything up that doesn't have the president's support… We believe universal background checks, which are already in place for some firearms dealers but not others, make abundant sense. Why require a check for weapons purchased from a federally licensed dealer but not in other venues? This requirement is so common-sense that, even with our divided politics, a vast majority of Americans favor universal background checks, according to opinion polls.” [Quad City Times, 9/4/19]

Aurora Sentinel (CO) Editorial: Congress Won’t Change Gun Laws Until Voters Change Congress. “It will come as no surprise to almost everyone, that despite a foursome of horrific mass shootings in recent weeks, the NRA and Republican lawmakers who are either complicit or outright abetting are poised to squash or diminish even the most demure of national gun control bills.” [Sentinel, 9/4/19]

Newsday (NY) Editorial: Amid the Gun Massacres, Thoughts and Prayers – and No Action to Save Lives. “I agree with President Donald Trump that we need to something meaningful to stop this scourge, and I'm counting on his leadership and that of our wonderful Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell. We're working very hard to examine all the possibilities. You can count on us. Sincerely, Your Republican U.S. senator cc: Wayne LaPierre, NRA” [Newsday, 9/3/19]

Chester County Press (PA) Editorial: The Facts of Our Nation’s Epidemic. “FACT: The U.S House of Representatives passed two bi-partisan bills in February. H.R. 8 would require all licensed and unlicensed gun dealers to conduct background checks. H.R. 1112 would extend the background check waiting period to 10 days… In August, several lawmakers urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reconvene the Senate to vote on the two bills, but so far, McConnell has not done so. FACT: The NRA spent $1.6 million during the first half of the year lobbying Congress against laws that would enact stricter background checks for people looking to buy guns. CONCLUSION: Draw your own.” [Chester County Press, 9/3/19]

San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Editorial: Mass Shootings – Since When, America, Since When? “In fact, the American people have spoken, with upward of 90% supporting universal background checks. The House of Representatives has acted, passing HR8 in February to significantly close loopholes that allowed sales at gun shows to go unchecked. It was the first meaningful gun control measure to clear either house of Congress in a quarter century. But that bill stalled in the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been a reliable goaltender for the National Rifle Association, which opposes any extension of background checks. President Trump has refused to show leadership on the issue, waffling between vague promises of doing something and holding hands with the NRA.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/2/19]

Lima News (OH) Editorial: Ease in Obtaining Weapons Must be Addressed. “The message given to Congress couldn’t be more clear as its members head back to Washington this week, nor could the solution be more difficult. It is time to enact stronger conditions for the ownership of all firearms, to initiate tougher background checks and to explore red flag laws. The simple truth is gun violence cannot be addressed without addressing the ease in which someone can arm himself with powerful weaponry.” [The Lima News, 8/31/19]

Meriden Record-Journal (CT) Editorial: Senator Murphy Deserves Credit for Trying on Gun Control. “The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed comprehensive gun-safety legislation in February, but it has effectively been blocked by McConnell in the Senate.” [Record Journal, 8/27/19]

Albany Times Union (NY) Editorial: The Obfuscator in Chief. “And either-or rhetoric — repeatedly arguing "It's not this, it's that" or "One solution won't solve every single mass shooting," or miring the debate in endless "butwhatabouts" — guarantees nothing will ever meaningfully change. Which seems to be precisely the goal of this president, and every other politician who looks the families of victims in the eye and promises action, and then breaks that promise even as the flowers on the graves of the dead are still fresh.” [Albany Times Union, 8/25/19]

San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Editorial: On Gun Violence, Trump Was Only Shooting His Mouth Off. “Reports over the past week, however, suggest Trump has completely abandoned any serious effort to change gun policy. Meanwhile, Southern California authorities may have averted yet another massacre Tuesday when they arrested a disgruntled cook and seized an arsenal of guns and ammunition from his home, alerted by a coworker that he was allegedly plotting an attack on the hotel where he worked. It was at least the 28th such arrest for a threatened attack, according to CNN, since the recent series of shootings. Sadly, the threat of violence has not abated as quickly as the president's determination to do anything about it.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 8/24/19]

Ames Tribune (IA) Editorial: Our Hope for the New School Year. “It doesn't matter if they are Democrat or Republican, independent or a third-party.If they don't make a pledge to do something to end the violence, they shouldn't be elected… We're talking about passing laws that will keep people safe in public places, and in our schools.” [Ames Tribune, 8/24/19]

Newsday (NY) Editorial: Another Week, Another Trump Reality Show. “Right now, those with the most to lose are the Republican leaders who have empowered Trump and said nothing as he exploded the deficit, inserted terror into our markets, attacked the nation's institutions, degraded its people and trashed its alliances. The party of Lincoln is putting its legacy and this nation at risk. GOP leaders need to speak out now against Trump's outbursts and outrages” [Newsday, 8/22/19]

Mercury News (CA) & East Bay Times (CA) Editorial: As Trump Stumbles, Democrats Should Lead on Gun Reform. “Without the president firmly on board, Senate Republicans are unlikely to consider significant change - or any change. Which means that gun reform probably won't be possible until after the 2020 election.” [Mercury News & East Bay Times, 8/22/19]

New York Post (NY) Editorial: Trump Would Be Foolish to Renege on Background Checks. “President Trump may be waffling on his vow to boost background checks, after a talk with National Rifle Association boss Wayne LaPierre this week. Please, Mr. President: Don't. You'd be making a big mistake - for the nation as well as your reelection campaign.” [New York Post, 8/21/19]

New York Daily News (NY) Editorial: Thanks, Pete: King Steps Up Against Assault Weapons and for Better Gun Laws. “The rest of the Republican Party now has a choice: Listen to growing numbers of voters who want to take military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines designed to kill in bunches out of civilian circulation, or cower behind a president who postures as an independent thinker while toeing the NRA line.” [Daily News, 8/21/19]

San Francisco Chronicle (CA) Editorial: California’s ‘Red Flag’ Gun Control Measure Should be Passed by Congress Too. “Unfortunately, it appears Trump has been swayed by recent visits from gun rights lobbyists. On Sunday, he claimed to reporters that the country already has strong federal background check laws and falsely blamed mental illness for mass shootings… No sooner had Trump reversed course than Senate Republicans began to say there was little chance of passing significant new gun regulations. It's a predictable, but heartbreaking, reversal.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 8/20/19]

Chicago Sun-Times (IL) Editorial: Americans Want New Laws to Curb Gun Violence. Why Won’t Congress and Trump Listen? “If Congress and President Donald Trump — once again — do nothing about gun violence, they won’t just be do-nothings. They will be active co-conspirators in a nationwide crime epidemic…. All of these bills should be easy to pass because the public already supports them. But for Congress to act, the rules of the game will have to change. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, will have to sense he will lose more Senate seats defending the gun lobby than if he helps reduce gun violence.” [Chicago Sun-Times, 8/20/19]

New Haven Register (CT) Editorial: Trump’s Empty Promises on Gun Safety. “That ‘influence’ did not translate to McConnell calling the Senate back from recess to take up the expanded universal background check bill approved in a bipartisan vote by the House in February. The bill extends the checks to include sales at gun shows. That does not infringe on anyone’s Second Amendment rights and, according to a Quinnipiac poll, 97 percent of Americans support it. With President Trump going back on his word, it is up to the people to demand common sense gun violence prevention laws. Empty promises do nothing to stop mass shootings.” [New Haven Register, 8/20/19]

Argus Leader (SD) Editorial: Leadership Needed to Address Gun Violence. “Members of Congress should muster the courage to take a step back from lockstep lobbyist loyalty - underscored by a fear of enraging the National Rifle Association - and contemplate a wider view. Sometimes the boldest leadership stems from flexibility and a sense of independence. If those in power can summon the willingness to represent all of us rather than merely a fanatic few, tangible steps can be taken to try to address the carnage. Will these legislative efforts solve the problem and eliminate all mass shootings? Of course not.” [Argus Leader, 8/18/19]

Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Editorial: Sen. Ron Johnson Should Join GOP Revolt for Sensible Gun Laws. “U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and other Wisconsin leaders on the political right shouldn't wait for another mass shooting to devastate lives and communities here in the Midwest before embracing popular and helpful legislation. Johnson should get solidly behind universal background checks on gun purchases, limits on how fast and intense firearms can inflict carnage, and "red flag" laws that let family and law enforcement intervene with individuals who exhibit warning signs of a possible attack.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 8/15/19]

Racine Journal Times (WI) Editorial: It’s Time to Toughen Gun Background Checks. “You are right, Mr. Majority Leader. We have seen too many of these horrendous acts. That is why you should support a background-check measure and commit to bringing it to a vote. Not that having political cover should make a difference in such life-and-death matters, but both House background-check bills passed with bipartisan support, meaning your caucus would have political cover.” [The Journal Times, 8/15/19]

Chester County Press (PA) Editorial: Mitch’s Summer Vacation. “Both these bipartisan bills were passed by the House in February of this year, and have received the support of 90 percent of Americans. Both have been blocked from a Senate vote by Senate Majority Mitch McConnell for more than 160 days.” [Chester County Press, 8/13/19]