Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) made a bipartisan call Tuesday for the Senate to vote on background check legislation, just days after two back-to-back mass shootings killed at least 31 people.
The bill, H.R. 8, passed the House in February but was never brought to a vote in the Senate, which is controlled by GOP Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
"We're saying to Leader McConnell: do the right thing," Minority Leader Schumer said at a press conference, alongside King, at a Walmart near New York City.
Over the weekend, two seperate mass shootings killed at least 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas and nine people in an entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio.
"If anything good can come from the horrible tragedies of this weekend, it would be if we can get this legislation passed," King said. "This should not in anyway be a partisan issue."
The plea for a vote came a day after President Trump's live address to the nation in which he called for "real, bipartisan solutions" to gun violence.
H.R. 8 — formally titled the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 — won passage with a vote of 240 to 190, including support from eight Republicans. The bill would establish universal background check requirements for firearm sales and transfers, and specifically make it harder for those with criminal records and mental illnesses from obtaining a gun.
"McConnell has had 200+ days to pass gun laws & save lives. On average 100 Americans are fatally shot every day as the Senate fails to act," the advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety said on Twitter. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence also urged the Senate "to be on the right side of history" and schedule a vote.
In a statement on Monday, McConnell said that "Senate Republicans are prepared to do our part" in response to Trump's call, adding that "partisan theatrics and campaign-trail rhetoric will only take us farther away from the progress all Americans deserve."
Schumer and King both said that they believe the bill, which King co-sponsored, would pass the Senate if it is brought up for a vote.
"It is essential that Leader McConnell brings this to a vote," King said. "He doesn't have to support it, he doesn't have to get behind it. Just let it come to a vote."
"It is a piece of paper," Schumer said as he held up the bill on Tuesday. "But it is a piece of paper that can save lives."