Gop lead­ers move slowly on tighter gun laws.


WASH­ING­TON — House Speaker Paul Ryan showed lit­tle in­ter­est Tues­day in some of the stricter gun pro­pos­als be­ing floated by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump or bi­par­ti­san coali­tions in Congress, as Se­nate Repub­li­cans pushed a more mod­est mea­sure to boost the ex­ist­ing back­ground check sys­tem with new penal­ties and in­cen­tives.

As stu­dent sur­vivors of the Mar­jory Stone­man Dou­glas High School shoot­ing roamed the Capi­tol for a sec­ond day, pro­mot­ing tougher gun laws in meet­ings with top law­mak­ers, Ryan ac­knowl­edged “sys­tem fail­ures” in Florida that he said Congress should re­view. But GOP lead­ers stopped short of of­fer­ing new leg­is­la­tion be­yond the back­ground check fix.

“We shouldn’t be ban­ning guns for law-abid­ing cit­i­zens,” Ryan told re­porters. “We should be fo­cus­ing on mak­ing sure that cit­i­zens who should not get guns in first place don’t get those guns.”

The Se­nate was poised to con­sider leg­is­la­tion from Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Mur­phy, D-Conn., to strengthen the Na­tional In­stant Crim­i­nal Back­ground Check Sys­tem, though votes were not yet sched­uled amid re­sis­tance from within the GOP ranks.

The “Fix NICS” bill, sim­i­lar to one ap­proved last year in the House, would pe­nal­ize fed­eral agen­cies that don’t prop­erly re­port re­quired records used to de­ter­mine whether some­one can legally buy a gun.

“Let’s do what we can and build from there,” Cornyn said.

But broader pro­pos­als were quickly cir­cu­lat­ing, and Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. urged the Se­nate to be more am­bi­tious than the “tiny” Fix NICS bill in its re­sponse to the Park­land, Fla., as­sault that left 17 dead.

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., are re­viv­ing their back­ground check bill, which would ex­pand checks to in­clude pur­chases on­line and at gun shows. It had failed af­ter the Sandy Hook El­e­men­tary School shoot­ing in 2012. Sens. Su­san Collins, R-Maine, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., pushed an ef­fort to block ter­ror sus­pects on the fed­eral no-fly list from buy­ing guns.

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