Gun control: Democrats introduce bills, some urge Biden to act on his own
MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Democrats in Congress are looking to fast-track a package of gun violence prevention bills in wake of a series of mass shootings despite some Republican opposition.
The House Judiciary Committee is planning an emergency session Thursday to take up the "Protect Our Kids Act," which includes proposals to raise the age from 18 to 21 to buy a semiautomatic rifle, make it a federal offense to sell, make, or possess high-capacity magazines, and stiffen penalties for gun traffickers.
The proposals come after two mass shootings rocked the country, most recently in Uvalde, Texas, where an 18-year-old shot and killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school.
The bills face long odds in the Senate as Republican support is required in order to reach the 60-vote threshold needed to pass legislation.
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said it's unfortunate some of her Republican colleagues refuse to support gun safety measures, but is hoping to put pressure on them to act in the coming days.
"Instead of prioritizing children of this nation, [Republicans] are prioritizing the NRA and gunmakers," Baldwin said. "Sixty out of 100 votes in the Senate when 90 out of 100 people strongly favor universal background checks…it shouldn't be a heavy lift."
Senator Ron Johnson has said he's opposed to stiffening background checks and other restrictive gun measures, arguing they wouldn't prevent school shootings. A spokeswoman for Johnson said he will still review what his Senate colleagues propose.
“As the senator has said, he believes part of the solution is renewed faith, stronger families and more supportive communities,” said Alexa Henning, Sen. Johnson's spokeswoman. “Washington D.C. exacerbates the problem. He doesn’t think additional gun laws at the federal level will solve this but he will review what Senate negotiators come up with.”
Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI 2nd) encouraged President Biden to pass measures on his own to curb gun violence, noting the uphill battle gun prevention bills face in the 50-50 Senate.
"We have to put them in executive orders where they can do things," Pocan said. "They won't be as good as a lasting statute, but it at least gets something in place and then we can see how it works."
The White House has put the responsibility on Congress to pass laws that would have more of a lasting impact, instead of executive orders.