Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is tired of “cop-out” Republican gun control measures and wants to see much more significant changes to gun laws in the United States.
Following the two mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas, Schumer took to Twitter to condemn Republicans for being closed off to many gun control measures. As IJR reported earlier, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and President Donald Trump both announced their support for state-level Red Flag laws, but Schumer sees this as nothing but an “ineffective cop-out.”
The notion that a tepid version of a 'Red Flag' bill—alone—is even close to getting the job done on gun violence is wrong & would be an ineffective cop out
We will seek to require that any 'Red Flag' bill is accompanied by a vote on the House-passed background checks legislation pic.twitter.com/oYD69zqlyh
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 7, 2019
With Schumer calling the one Republican-approved anti-gun violence plan a cop-out, it’s clear that Democrats have much bigger gun control plans in mind.
Here are five anti-gun violence policies leading Democrats are floating.
Federally Required Red Flag Laws
As IJR recently explained, Red Flag laws — sometimes called Extream Risk Protection Orders ERPOs — allow law enforcement to remove weapons from someone if they are flagged by a family member to be a threat to themselves or others. The family must petition the court to grant authorities the right to confiscate the guns temporarily. Despite concerns that Red Flag laws violate due process by not allowing the gun owner to defend themselves in court prior to their guns being taken, Republicans seem supportive of the measure.
Because 17 states have already implemented such laws, Graham proposed a bill that would incentivize other states to do the same.
Schumer, however, says it’s not enough to let the states decide. He wants Red Flag laws nationwide.
We are not going to settle for doing ONLY a tepid version of a Red Flag bill and allow Republicans to push the issue of gun violence to the side
We will seek to require that any Red Flag bill that comes to floor be accompanied by a vote on the House-passed background checks bill pic.twitter.com/C31rllrDoT
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) August 7, 2019
“The proposal Republicans are pursuing would not mandate states to institute ERPO laws,” wrote Schumer. “Instead, it would just provide grant incentives for states to implement laws of their own, with runs the risk of during more harm than good in the long run if states decide to take up weaker laws.”
Schumer demanded that ERPO laws be married to stronger background checks.
Universal Background Checks
While the majority of gun purchases require a background check, Schumer argued that there are still many loopholes that allow people to legally transfer a gun without a background check.
He argued that “gun show and online sale loopholes exist” and allow criminals to access weapons “far too easily.” Although the “gun show loophole” is a common talking point, it doesn’t legally exist. Instead, federally licensed firearms dealers may not correctly enforce the laws, allowing people to purchase the weapon without a check — an enforcement issue Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has vowed to take on if she becomes president.
There are also weapons exchanges between two not licensed firearms dealers, such as a sale between neighbors, that do not currently require a background check.
Universal background checks would require any exchange of a weapon to be checked.
Assault Weapons Ban
As IJR Blue reported, former President Bill Clinton signed into law an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. He recently made a call for that ban to be reinstated.
Clinton’s bill prevented the manufacturing of new semi-automatic firearms and large-capacity ammunition magazines, though it did not ban existing weapons.
In the wake of recent shootings, many have made calls for this legislation to be reimplemented.
Gun Confiscations and Mandatory Buybacks
Some of the more extreme calls have come from Democrats like Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) who called for outlawing “weapons of war” and forcing those gun owners into a mandatory gun buyback program.
2020 candidate Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) said he would be “open” to a mandatory buyback program, similar to the one implemented in New Zealand earlier this year.
It remains unclear how proponents of mandatory gun buybacks would fair before the courts, as previous rulings make it likely such a step would be found in violation of the Second Amendment.
One issue that has built up steam on the campaign trail is the issue of gun licenses. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has proposed a measure that would force gun owners to have a license to own a firearm.
If you need a license to drive a car, you should need a license to own and operate a gun.
I’ll get this done as president: https://t.co/si7MK1VfB3
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) August 6, 2019
Booker’s plan would require gun owners “submit fingerprints, provide basic background information, and demonstrate completion of a certified gun safety course” before getting a license. The FBI would check that information before the license is granted.
For now, it remains unclear what the next steps will be following the shootings. The most likely legislation would be the Red Flag law incentives backed by Trump and other Republicans, but there is no guarantee that Schumer and his fellow Democrats will settle for that policy.