October 06, 2015, 02:56 pm
Gun control push coming in Senate
By Jordain Carney
Senate Democrats are planning to unveil a new gun-control proposal on Thursday in the wake of a shooting at a community college in Oregon.
"We've had a number of meetings today with Democratic senators," Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters. "So we're going to move forward. We have a program. We're going to do some press on this on Thursday."
Asked about what his new program would include, Reid declined to get into details, saying, "We're going to make sure this is inclusive, that all my caucus is involved in this, and we're not going to outline stuff here today."
The remarks come a day after the Democratic leader slammed his Republican colleagues from the Senate floor, calling them "puppets" of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
"I've started to reach out to senators in talking about what can be done to advance the cause of background checks while Republicans are in charge for the next year or so," Reid said on Monday. "One thing is clear, to pass background checks, we need Republicans to stop acting as puppets of the NRA."
The new push comes after a gunman killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., late last week.
Democrats, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have called for new gun-control legislation in the wake of the shooting. But any legislation faces an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled Senate. A 2013 background check bill divided Senate Democrats, with a handful of red-state lawmakers voting against moving forward with the proposal.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that separately he is now working on a mental health bill and has started reaching out to Democrats.
"I think the model is what we did on criminal justice," he told reporters. "If people don't like it, if they think it doesn't go far enough, then I would love to see their suggestions."
Asked about the feedback he's gotten from Democratic senators, Cornyn said, "I think people are intrigued. I've been talking to a number of them on an individual basis, and I hope to have something to announce here before long."
The Senate's No. 2 Republican suggested that following last week's shooting, some Democrats had spoken about gun control without offering "solutions."
"I've heard the president and Secretary [Hillary] Clinton rail about this issue, but not come up with any solutions, any constructive ideas."