Despite Pressure, Mitch McConnell Suggests He Won’t Call Senate Back Early For Gun Safety Vote

McConnell hinted that calling the U.S. Senate back early to vote on House-passed gun legislation would be a 'frustrating experience.'

Sen. Mitch McConnell at a Senate Judiciary confirmation hearing.
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McConnell hinted that calling the U.S. Senate back early to vote on House-passed gun legislation would be a 'frustrating experience.'

Despite numerous calls from Democrats to end the August recess early in an effort to pass gun safety legislation in the wake of two deadly mass shootings, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicated that he has no plans of doing so.

According to The Hill, in a Thursday radio interview, McConnell gave the first hint at his immediate plans for debating gun legislation previously passed by the House in February that would increase background checks on gun buyers and include language that would close what has been called the “gun show and internet loophole.”

“We’re going to have these bipartisan discussions and when we get back hopefully be able to come together and actually pass something. I want to make a law,” McConnell said.

“If we do it prematurely it will just be another frustrating experience…. I think this is the best way to get a result.”

The House bill, known as H.R. 8, or the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, was passed with the support of eight House Republicans. The companion bill in the Senate current lacks support from any Republicans.

Officially, the Senate will be back in business on September 9. However, Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and even former secretary of state Hillary Clinton have made public calls for McConnell to come back early.

On Thursday, Pelosi wrote a letter to President Donald Trump, asking if he would use his executive powers to essentially override McConnell and call the chamber back early.

“Today, as Speaker of the House, I am writing in good faith to request that you call the United States Senate back into session immediately under your powers in Article II Section 3 of the Constitution to consider House-passed bipartisan gun violence prevention legislation,” Pelosi wrote.

According to The Hill, Pelosi’s plea to the president came one day after a large group of over 200 House Democrats wrote a similar letter for McConnell himself, demanding that he reconvene early and get the bill passed.

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McConnell said that instead, members of the U.S. Senate would use the time off in August to discuss potential bills and decide which ones could garner the needed 60 votes to pass.

Two prominent possible ideas on the issue of gun control involve the push for universal background checks and what’s known as “red flag” legislation, which would give law enforcement the power to remove firearms from an individual who is deemed as a threat.

“There’s a lot of support for that … so those are two items that for sure will be front and center as we see what we can come together on and pass,” McConnell said.

Trump has publicly supported both legislative ideas in recent days.