Politics

Democrats Call on House to Pass Gun Control Bill This Week

'No fly, no buy' legislation is just a start, they say

California Rep. Xavier Becerra calls for 'no-fly, no-buy' legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are calling on their Republican counterparts to allow a vote before they go home for the weekend on legislation that would ban people on the no-fly terror watch list from being able to buy guns.  

"This Congress should not leave this week without giving us a vote on something very simple: 'no fly, no buy,'" Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra of California said Wednesday morning.  

Across the Capitol, Senate Democrats were launching a filibuster , promising to keep talking until leaders reach a bipartisan approach to addressing gun violence.  

[ Senate Democrats Begin Filibuster Over Gun Control ]  

The House caucus will continue to discuss legislative actions that Congress should take in the wake of a mass shooting in Orlando that left 49 people dead and 53 injured.  

"The least we can do is the 'no fly, no buy' legislation," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said. Republicans allowing a vote on the bill would help disprove what the American people already believe — that the GOP is "a wholly owned subsidiary" of the National Rifle Association, she said.  

[ Donald Trump to Talk to NRA About No Fly, No Buy Push ]  

Republicans have rejected such legislation in the past, but Wednesday morning, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump said he planned to talk to the NRA about the idea.  

Democrats said they don't see Trump's push as helpful.  

"If Donald Trump decides today that he supports 'no fly, no buy,' it will be just the latest disagreement that House Republicans say they have with him. It is irrelevant," said Rep. Steve Israel, the Democratic policy and communications chairman.  

"If conman Don can convince the NRA to move forward on this, God bless him," added fellow New York Democrat Joe Crowley, vice chairman of the Democratic caucus. "But again it just goes to show the power of the NRA, that their presidential nominee will go on hand and knee begging for them to give them a pass on this issue, so that it can trickle down to all the other Republican members of the House. It's ludicrous. It's crazy."  

While some Republicans have expressed public support for the no-fly measure, Crowley noted that none of them have signed onto a discharge petition  Democrats launched last year after the San Bernardino shooting in California. If the petition, which has 180 Democrat signatures, were to get 218 signatures, there would be a floor vote on the petition. Assuming the signers all vote in favor of discharging the bill from committee, that would trigger a floor vote on the bill.  

Asked if GOP support for the no-fly measure is disingenuous if they haven't signed the petition, Crowley said, "You'll have to ask them that question. I certainly think it is."  

On Tuesday, House Rules Chairman Pete Sessions of Texas said Republicans were discussing  whether to allow such amendments to appropriations bills.  

House Republicans plan to push a package of counterterrorism bills  that would target individuals, like the Orlando shooter, who become radical but don't belong to a terrorist group.  

[ Republicans and Democrats Diverge After Orlando Attack ]  

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland said he would urge Democrats to support the package but that it's not a real response since the House has already passed those bills.  

"Americans not ought to be deceived that that's action," he said. The House should be devoting days and weeks toward legislative solutions on gun violence and terrorism, Hoyer added.  

Hoyer said that in addition to passing gun control measures, Congress also needs to empathize with the fear that the LGBT community is experiencing in the wake of the Orlando attack.  

Republicans' decision to again prevent the House from voting on New York Democratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney's amendment to ban federal contractors from discriminating against LGBT employees shows they're unwilling to do that, he said.  

="How sad," Hoyer said. "That is one thing we could do today: Say to all Americans, 'You will not discriminate. We will not discriminate. Our government will not discriminate against citizens who are members of the LGBT community.'"  

Contact McPherson at lindseymcpherson@rollcall.com and follow her on Twitter @lindsemcpherson

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.