Schumer Says Fast Action on Gun Control Unlikely
WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is telling colleagues that there won’t be a rush to bring new gun-control legislation to the floor in the wake of mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, in recent days.
Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday morning, Schumer said, “There are some who want this body to quickly vote on sensible gun safety legislation, legislation supported by the vast majority of Americans.
“They also want to see this body vote quickly so the American people can know which side each senator is on, [and] I’m sympathetic to that,” he continued, adding, “I believe that accountability votes are important.”
But he said the simple reality is he doesn’t believe he can muster enough Republican votes to pass any gun measure right now, despite shootings that have left at least 31 dead over a 10-day period.
Instead, he’s pinning his hopes for a response on bipartisan negotiations currently being led by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.
Schumer also reminded his colleagues that Republicans opposed proposals to expand background checks, ban assault-style weapons and prohibit high-capacity magazines after a gunman killed 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.
“If the slaughter of schoolchildren can’t convince Republicans to buck the NRA, what can we do?” he said, referring to the National Rifle Association.
“Sadly, this isn’t a case of the American people now knowing where their senators stand. They know. They know because my Republican colleagues are perfectly clear on this issue. Crystal clear,” he said.
“Americans can cast their vote in November for senators or members of Congress that reflect how he or she stands with guns,” Schumer said. “In the meantime, my Republican colleagues can work with us now. I know this is a slim prospect, very slim, all too slim. We’ve been burnt so many times before. But this is so important.”
A short time later, when Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., addressed the Senate floor, he pointedly did not mention any kind of gun legislation.
Instead, he reserved his remarks for the tragedy unfolding in Uvalde in the wake of the country’s latest mass shooting.
“Our country is sickened and outraged by the senseless evil that struck Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, yesterday,” McConnell said.
“According to early reports from authorities, it appears that a deranged young man tried to murder his own grandmother, then crashed his car, and then ran into an elementary school and began killing,” he said. “At least 19 young children and two teachers were murdered for no apparent reason at all.
“It is literally sickening to consider the innocent young lives that were stolen by this pointless, senseless brutality. To consider the parents and families who sat waiting at the Civic Center — waiting to either be reunited with their son or daughter, or to learn they never would be.
“The investigation is still underway. The authorities will continue to learn exactly what happened and how. … We are also praying for the Border Patrol officer who, according to reports, was wounded after he responded to the scene. And for all the law enforcement, paramedics, and first responders whose dedication yesterday saved lives.
“Most of all, the entire nation’s hearts are broken for the victims and their families. Words simply fail. … We pray fervently that in the midst of this nightmare of grief, our Heavenly Father will make manifest to these families his promise in Psalm 34 — that ‘the Lord is near to the brokenhearted,’” McConnell said.