As he heads to Connecticut on Monday, it’s up to President Obama to revive the “sense of urgency” for stronger gun measures, a top Democratic senator said Monday.
“A sense of urgency, I think, is still there for those of us who talk and live with these families” of victims of last year’s massacre in Newtown, said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, speaking on CNN’s “Starting Point.”
“And that’s the urgency that the president will try to revive tonight,” he added.
Mr. Obama will deliver a speech at the University of Hartford on Monday and again make his pitch for stricter U.S. gun laws. The White House’s push for an assault weapons ban failed, but expanded background checks for all firearm purchases remains very much alive in ongoing Senate negotiations.
Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, and Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, are working on a background check agreement that could garner support from both parties, the Associated Press reported. **Their plan — which is very much a work in progress and could change, Senate aides said — would call for background checks to all gun show sales and online transactions.
But sales between relatives and temporary transfers between hunters could be excluded, the AP reported, which had been a major sticking point among gun control opponents.
Both Mr. Manchin and Mr. Toomey have gotten “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association, and their bipartisan agreement could prove crucial to getting a deal done.
While there appears to be some progress in Washington, the public outcry for action has begun to subside, with four months having passed since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Mr. Blumenthal argued that it’s up to Mr. Obama to again get the American people on board with a gun control agenda, and said that by appearing on Monday with families of the Newtown victims, the president can begin to accomplish that aim.
“The families will be with him. That picture … will revive, reinvigorate but also sustain that sense of momentum and urgency,” Mr. Blumenthal said.
Connecticut already is leading the way on gun regulations. Gov. Dannel Malloy recently signed legislation that added nearly 100 guns to the state’s banned list and prohibits sales of magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Those measures have come under intense fire from the National Rifle Association and other vocal critics of gun control efforts at both the federal and state levels.