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.