WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Last week’s deadly shooting in Virginia Beach has prompted lawmakers to once again begin debating America’s gun laws.
Democrats in both chambers are clamoring for action on a House bill that passed months ago. H.R. 8 would expand federal background checks for the sale or transfer of almost every firearm, closing a loophole that allowed private gun sales to go unchecked.
The Senate has so far refused to take up the bill, or any gun legislation, for that matter.
“Do not sit by and watch this slaughter continue,” Sen. Chris Murphy said.
Murphy, D-Connecticut, says he’s fed up with Senate Republicans’ complacency and refusal to address gun violence.
“The background checks bill has been lingering, sitting on the Senate calendar for 100 days,” he added. “In those 100 days, 10,000 people have been shot. In those 100 days, there have been over 100 mass shootings.”
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, says there’s no reason to avoid a vote on the universal background checks bill.
“My Republican colleagues cannot stand idly while their leader protects them in an act of consummate cowardice,” Blumenthal said.
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, D-Connecticut, whose congressional district was devastated by the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, urged the Senate to at least open a dialogue on the topic.
“To have no answer for all of these kids who are asking, ‘why are we doing nothing?’ is unconscionable,” she said.
According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 97% of Americans who responded support universal background checks. Democratic lawmakers say the Senate should act immediately.
“Claiming that 97 percent of Americans support universal backgrounds checks is just false,” NRA spokesperson Lars Dalseide said.
Dalseide says Democrats merely claim they’re not coming for your guns.
“Then they pass bills like H.R. 8 and you know that’s exactly what they’re trying to do,” he added.
Democratic lawmakers maintain this is just a common-sense piece of legislation that could help save lives.