Following the horrific mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, in which 22 people were shot and killed and 24 were wounded, and Dayton, Ohio, in which at least nine people were shot and killed and 14 people were shot and wounded, and after a weekend in which at least 7 people were killed and dozens were wounded across Chicago and six people were shot and killed and five people were wounded over a 12-hour period in Houston, several Republican Members of Congress are starting to say enough is enough, while calling on their colleagues to pass common-sense gun safety legislation.
In February, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to require background checks on all gun sales. To date, the majority in the U.S. Senate has refused to hold a vote on that legislation. Red Flag bills have been introduced by bipartisan members of Congress in both the U.S. House and Senate, and the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing finding bipartisan support for Red Flag laws in March. Moms Demand Action volunteers, with Students Demand Action volunteers and Everytown Survivor Network, will put pressure on Senate leadership and demand they schedule a vote on background checks on all gun sales and a Red Flag law now.
In addition to the recent comments made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, below is just a sampling of the growing list of Republicans who have spoken out in support of Congressional action on common-sense gun safety legislation, such as background checks legislation and Red Flag legislation, which allow families and law enforcement to ask a judge to temporarily suspend a person’s access to guns if there is evidence that a person poses a serious threat to themselves or others:
- Senator Lindsey Graham (SC), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stated his support for Red Flag laws, announcing he’ll soon introduce a bipartisan bill with Senator Blumenthal (D-CT)…
- Senator Pat Toomey (PA) stated his support for background checks legislation and Red Flag laws…”While no law will end mass shootings entirely, it’s time for Congress to act to help keep our communities safer. We should start by passing bipartisan proposals such as my legislation with Senator Joe Manchin to expand background checks to all commercial firearm sales. I also agree with Senator Lindsey Graham that we should pass a bipartisan ‘red flag’ measure that enables families and law enforcement to obtain a court order to keep guns away from dangerous individuals.”
- Senator Rob Portman (OH) stated his support for background checks during a press conference over the weekend…“Do we need more laws? Yeah, we probably do. . . . And I think there’s a consensus now that we need background checks,” Portman said at a Sunday news conference. Senator Portman also stated his support for Red Flag laws in an interview today…“I think there’s more we can do legislatively,” he said. “Some of the legislative ideas may not make a difference. This one would I think if you could come up with a way to remove a gun from somebody’s possession.”
- Senator Mike Braun (IN) voiced his support for background checks and Red Flag legislation…“Mass shootings and gun violence across our country is a complex situation; watching Congress do nothing is unacceptable, and I agree with President Trump’s call for bipartisan legislation to address this crisis. Any bipartisan legislation needs to include: stronger background checks, red flag laws known as extreme risk protection orders that address mental illness, commonsense solutions that complement the Trump administration’s ban on bump stocks so we can crack down on modifications that turn guns into military-style assault weapons, and steps that are responsive to a culture that glorifies violence.”
- Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) stated his support for Red Flag legislation.
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA) stated his support for Red Flag laws
- Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN) stated his support for doing more to identify those who should not have access to guns, especially on background checks…“I am ready to do more, especially on background checks, to identify those who shouldn’t have guns”
- Senator Susan Collins (ME) stated her support for closing loopholes in the background check system.
- Representative Brian Fitzpatrick (PA) stated his support for Red Flag laws. In a statement with other sponsors of the Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Act after the President’s remarks, he said: “I welcome the President’s endorsement of Extreme Risk Protection Orders as effective measures to reduce gun violence. Protecting our communities from the horrors witnessed in El Paso and Dayton requires Republicans and Democrats to come together to find bipartisan policy solutions. Our legislation does just that.”
- Representative Phil Roe (TN) said the Senate should pass background check legislation that he voted against…”Asked if he hopes the Senate passes the background check bill, Roe replied: “Yes, I would. Absolutely.”
- Representative Adam Kinzinger (IL) wrote a Medium post in which he advocated for background checks on all gun sales and Red Flag laws, among other policies: “The ‘red flag laws’ are important to preventing gun violence and I believe more states should adopt these laws that place protective orders on those with mental issues, ensuring they cannot be a harm to themselves or others. In addition to these laws, I believe it’s time for universal background checks for gun purchases, raising the age to 21 to purchase a firearm, and banning certain high capacity magazines, like the 100-round drum the Dayton shooter used this weekend.”
- Rep. Fred Upton (MI) stated his support for Red Flag laws ...“Bipartisan Red Flag laws – with proper due process – need to be enacted to provide law enforcement and mental health authorities the tools to deny weapons capable of such carnage from being on the streets. Enough is enough.”
- Rep. Chris Smith (NJ) stated his support for background checks.
- Rep. Susan Brooks (IN) stated her support for her Red Flag bill.