- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2015

Spurred to action by last week’s deadly shooting at an Oregon community college, Senate Democrats renewed a push for tougher gun legislation Thursday and urged Americans to help advance the cause by putting pressure on lawmakers.

The senators announced a set of three priorities for combating gun violence, which centered on measures to expand and strengthen background checks for gun purchasers.

“The roll call of American gun tragedies is already far, far too long,” Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, said at a press conference on the steps of the Capitol.

He noted mass shootings spanning from the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado to the spree that killed nine people last week at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.

“The victims and their families deserve better than a Congress that shrugs its shoulders and waited for the next tragedy,” he said. “They deserve action.”



The Democrats’ priorities for gun control, which closely mirrored the plan rolled out last week by Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, included:

Closing background check “loopholes,” such as stopping criminals from buying firearms at gun shows or online.

Expanding background checks to bar domestic abusers and stalkers from buying guns.

Shutting down the “illegal gun pipeline” by making straw purchasing of guns and gun trafficking federal crimes.

The senators called the proposals common-sense gun safety measures.

Many of the items on their gun control wish list have been proposed in the past, including a bipartisan bill for universal background checks that failed to gain traction after the 2012 shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Gun rights advocates have dismissed some of the measures, such as further restrictions on Internet sales of firearms. Internet sellers already are required to deliver firearms to customers through licensed dealers, who have to perform background checks.

As the senators presented their prescription to cure gun violence, they were surrounded by about a dozen armed guards outside the Capitol.

Officers from the U.S. Capitol Police, who carried sidearms, were added to the regular detail patrolling the Capitol grounds and were deployed because of the large number of elected officials attending the event, an officer at the scene said.

Twenty-seven Democratic senators were present.

They echoed President Obama’s calls after the mass shooting at the Oregon community college for Americans to pressure lawmakers to take action to stop the scourge of gun violence.

“We are asking, as the president said, to make their voices heard,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate. “We expect there will be a groundswell.”

They expected the measures to be put to votes by the end of next year.

Advocates of stricter gun laws hailed the agenda.

“After a summer of gun violence and again after the tragic school shooting in Oregon last week, we said we would do whatever it takes to ask our political leaders — from the White House to Congress to statehouses across the country — to take action to prevent the gun violence that kills 88 Americans and injures hundreds more every day,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, the umbrella for gun control groups financed by billionaire and former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

“We applaud Sen. Schumer and the more than 20 United States senators who gathered today to speak out on what they will do to close the loopholes that make it easy for dangerous people to get guns in our country. We are going to keep calling on all levels of government to take action to prevent gun violence,” Mr. Feinblatt said.

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