Bill to strengthen gun background checks has enough support to pass Senate

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A bill to bolster the national background check system used for gun purchases crossed a critical milestone this week, getting enough support to break a filibuster and pass the Senate.

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn‘s (R-Texas) office noted on Friday that the legislation picked up six more co-sponsors, bringing the total number of supporters to 62.
The boost in support puts it just over the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster, a key procedural hurdle, and gives it enough support to potentially be passed by the Senate.
Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) are the latest senators to formally sign onto the Fix NICS (National Instant Background Check System) Act.

The legislation reinforces existing laws by ensuring that authorities report criminal records to the system and penalizing agencies that don’t.

The effort has been championed after multiple mass shootings where the alleged gunmen were able to purchase firearms despite past charges or warnings about their behavior.

Cornyn hinted on Thursday morning that he was close to securing 60 votes for the legislation, which he introduced late last year with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

“I can’t tell you how disappointed I am that the United States Senate has done nothing, nothing, to prevent [mass shootings] from happening in the future. We’re close to 60 bipartisan co-sponsors,” he said from the Senate floor.

Despite having more than 60 votes, it remains unclear when, or if, it will be brought up for a vote.
A scheduling update from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that outlined what else the chamber will tackle before a two-week recess expected to start on March 23 did not mention the background check legislation.
The gun control debate has largely stalled in the Senate after the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting, where 17 people were killed.
Republicans have signaled they want to pass the Fix NICS Act by unanimous consent — allowing it to skip over a formal vote and potentially days of floor time.
But the bill has run into a stumbling block amid a slate of GOP senators who say they have “due process” concerns.
Democrats, while supportive of the legislation, have also said they believe it is too narrow of a response.
This article was published on Thehill
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