Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he expected to know next week whether President Donald Trump would be supporting new gun-related legislation in the aftermath of recent mass shootings.
The Kentucky Republican was asked in an interview about criticism he has received from Democrats for not putting House-passed background check bills on the floor. McConnell reiterated to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that the Senate would not be holding another series of test votes on firearm measures that have no chance of being signed into law.
“We’re in a discussion about what to do on the gun issue in the wake of these horrendous shootings. I said several weeks ago that if the president took a position on a bill, so that we knew we would actually be making a law, and not just having serial votes, I’d be happy to put it on the floor,” McConnell said. “The administration is in the process of studying what they’re prepared to support, if anything, and I expect to get an answer to that next week.”
“If the president is in favor of a number of things that he has discussed openly and publicly, and I know that if we pass it, it’ll become law, I’ll put it on the floor,” McConnell said.
The House passed legislation in February that would close several loopholes that keep gun sales from needing to undergo federal background checks.
On Monday, Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Marc Short told reporters traveling in Ireland that they were in discussions with the Department of Justice about the potential contents of a legislative proposal related to guns. Short highlighted a draft proposal from Attorney General William Barr to expedite the use of the death penalty in convictions for mass shootings. That’s not what Democrats have had in mind for addressing gun violence, however.
[House Judiciary panel to dive into gun debate upon return]
Still, Sen. Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut, one of the Democrats leading the calls for expanded background checks and other limits related to firearm access, has continued to sound optimistic in recent weeks about possibly reaching an agreement with the Trump administration on some legislation.