Press Release

Gillibrand, Schumer Announce New Action To Demand A Vote On Commonsense Gun Safety Legislation Amid All-Out Failure Of Mitch Mcconnell To Bring Legislation To Floor

Sep 15, 2019

Delivering Vote On Bipartisan, House-Passed Universal Background Check Bill & Closing Dangerous Loopholes Will Be Focus Of Next Week’s ‘Full Court Press’ To Force Action On Floor 

Standing With Survivors Of Tragic Massacres & Advocates, Gillibrand & Schumer Detail What’s Sitting On McConnell’s Desk & The Plan To Up The Pressure On Senate & Trump Admin Now Doing Bidding Of NRA 

Gillibrand, Schumer: Immediate Action On Gun Violence Gripping America Can Be Achieved If We Keep The Pressure On

New York, NY – Amid the all-out failure of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring bipartisan and already House-passed gun safety legislation to the floor of the United States Senate, where it would likely pass, and then go to the President for signature, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer announced new action today to demand a vote. The Senators revealed that this upcoming week in the Senate, various members will take the floor throughout Tuesday, in a ‘full court press,’ to keep the pressure on McConnell and the President. 

“Gun violence is a crisis in our communities, but it doesn’t have to be,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has shamefully refused to act as more lives continue to be lost to gun violence every day. That’s why we’re demanding he bring common sense gun control legislation up for a vote and calling on our colleagues in Congress to join us in taking to the Senate floor this week for a full court press. We will not give up this fight until Congress does the right thing for New Yorkers and all Americans.”

“It really is a shame that despite the recent shootings, the human tragedies and the overwhelming cries by the American people for Congress to act on gun violence, that I have to stand here and admit we all need to keep the pressure on,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “Today, I am announcing that we in the Senate will not be silent when Mitch McConnell and the administration need us to be. We will be vociferous, and next week in the Senate we will demand a vote on meaningful and commonsense reforms, like fixing our broken background check law.” 

Gillibrand and Schumer stood with survivors of recent massacres, as well as advocates, detailing what’s exactly being held up that would deliver universal background checks and close dangerous purchase loopholes. The Senators explained the ‘full court press’ plan for the upcoming week and pledged to keep the pressure on, while imploring the public to do the same. As the Senators made their case, they said that the NRA, while losing its grip on America, remains a force that everyday citizens can help break.

“El Paso, Dayton…Brooklyn. From City Hall to the floor of the nation’s Upper House elected officials have the moral obligation to legislate so lives can be saved,“ said New York City Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, District 24 in Brooklyn. “It is tragic that the most obvious, important reality is so difficult for the GOP to see and talk about. Our country’s reality is gun violence, mass shootings, and death. We know it. We see it. I have lived it. It is time for the Senate to schedule a debate and a vote on comprehensive gun control legislation. Our patience has run out.”

“The call to address our Nation’s issue with gun control is long overdue,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder and President of National Action Network. “Most Americans support comprehensive gun safety reform (that includes universal background checks and placing limitations on assault rifles with high-capacity magazines), so it is insulting that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not allow legislation that will prevent these massacres from happening on such a prevalent scale. Because of McConnell’s stagnation, more lives may be lost, and more families may suffer at the hands of relentless gun violence. It is in the best interest for the Majority Leader to listen to the people and allow a vote on the Senate floor immediately, without the influence of those who are concerned with profits rather than the safety of American citizens.”

“New Yorkers know that comprehensive gun policy reform is needed now to prevent gun violence and protect all of our communities,” said Rebecca Fischer, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. “We live in one of the safest states in the country because our leaders have implemented effective policy and community-based solutions. The entire nation deserves the same. We are proud to stand with Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer to demand that the Senate take immediate action to save lives here in New York and across the country.”

“Too many lives are cut short by illegally trafficked guns in this country and it’s past time we do something about it,” said Allison Mayne Peters of Moms Demand Action. “We need lawmakers who will do everything in their power to keep guns from those who shouldn’t have them. We’re grateful to Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer for their leadership on this life or death issue.”

“My husband drafted legislation on the NY SAFE Act which set precedent as one of the strongest gun laws in 2013, and yet his life and his bright light was extinguished by guns,” said Trenelle Gabay, Moms Demand Action Volunteer and Founder and President of the Carey Gabay Foundation. “It shouldn’t be so easy for lives to be taken senselessly and callously when people go shopping or to a concert, a movie, children at school, a church, a night club or like my husband, Carey, a street festival. The list can go on and on and it will only continue if we don’t take action. Too many lives are shattered and we don’t need thoughts and prayers, we the people need action for a safer America for all future generations.”

“As a survivor of the Las Vegas mass shooting, I know firsthand the lasting effects of the trauma from gun violence,” said Robert Gaafar, Survivor of Las Vegas Mass Shooting. “I applaud Senator Gillibrand and Senator Schumer for their leadership to continue to fight to pass gun violence prevention laws that will immediately save lives. Universal background checks, closing the Charleston loophole, and the Red Flag law, will help reduce this epidemic that is stealing one-hundred lives from our communities every single day.”

“The greed of some politicians like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are costing our communities in lives. Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. and other organizations are fighting to save our children and nation,” said Jackie Rowe-Adams, Co-founder of Harlem Mothers S.A.VE. “Senator McConnell needs to do the job that he was elected to do…most Americans are in favor of comprehensive, commonsense gun safety reform. His job is to put the interests of the nation on the floor for a vote.”

“New York State is one of the safest places to live because our leaders have taken action,” said Andrea Gonzales, Director of Operations for Youth Over Guns. “However, youth, particularly marginalized youth of color, are still being killed and traumatized by gun violence due to the inaction of the federal government. Guns that are trafficked into our neighborhoods from different states with lax gun laws are destroying our families and our peace of mind. We demand that the Senate act in order to save lives here and in all American communities.”

Gillibrand and Schumer noted that since the House’s passage in February, more than 14,000 people have died as a result of gun violence and they demanded that the Majority Leader stop blocking a vote on this bipartisan gun safety bill that the vast majority of Americans are demanding. 

Schumer said that, as Minority Leader, he would devote floor time on Tuesday to a ‘full court press’ for members to implore Leader McConnell to allow the Senate to vote on the aforementioned legislation—H.R. 8—that the House of Representatives already passed in February with strong bipartisan support. The legislation would enact universal background checks on all gun purchases, and address dangerous purchasing loopholes, both direly-needed actions necessary to address the scourge.

Federal law already requires licensed gun dealers to conduct background checks on gun purchasers and transferees, but this legislation would address a common loophole by requiring unlicensed gun sellers to perform background checks. While federal law prohibits certain people, including those with felony convictions, domestic abusers, and those adjudicated mentally unfit from obtaining or possessing firearms, major loopholes still allow people who should not possess a gun to legally acquire one. The current background check law is enforced mainly via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which licensed gun dealers are required to cross-check before selling or transferring a firearm. According to the Giffords organization, since the 1990s, NICS has stopped over three million gun sales or transfers from licensed dealers. H.R. 8—which Gillibrand and Schumer will make a focus of this upcoming week as part of a Senate ‘full court press’ to compel Leader McConnell to bring the bill to the floor—would require all firearm purchases to undergo the NICS background check, and it would close purchasing loopholes like unregulated internet sales.

Presently, loopholes in the background check law allow unlicensed sellers to sell guns at gun shows, online, and person-to-person without conducting any background check on the purchaser, which can have potentially dangerous consequences. According to the Giffords organization, up to 80% of firearms used for criminal purposes are obtained without a background check. Schumer and Gillibrand point out that while this is not the only action Congress needs to take on guns and violence, passing H.R. 8 is a sensible first step Americans have long begged to achieve.

According to Quinnipiac, 97% of Americans, including 97% of gun owners and 97% of Republicans, support requiring a background check for every gun sale.