By Andrew O'Reilly
Published September 08, 2019
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said Sunday that he wants President Trump to let Senate leaders know what kind of gun control legislation he would be willing to sign.
Amid several mass shootings in recent months, Blunt said that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., won’t bring forth any legislation on gun control that Trump won’t put his signature on.
“The president needs to step up here and set some guidelines for what he would do,” Blunt said during an interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “I'm afraid what's going to happen here is what always happens, is we take this silly ‘if we don't get everything, we won't do anything.’”
Gun control legislation has been a hotly debated topic for decades in Congress, but has recently taken on a new urgency in the wake of a number of mass shootings across the country. In August, back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio left at least 31 people dead just days after another gunman opened fire at a festival in California, killing four and injuring 13 others. Last weekend, another gunman in Texas killed seven people and wounded more than 20 in a rampage between the cities of Odessa and Midland.
Blunt said one area he thinks there is agreement on between Republicans and Democrats is finding a way to detect individuals with mental health issues and treat them earlier in the hopes of preventing more shootings.
“There's a moment here where we can expand what we're already doing on that front,” he said.
Authorities in Texas, however, said that despite failing a background check due to a mental health issue, the shooter in last weekend’s slayings, Seth Aaron Ator, was able to obtain a gun by purchasing the weapon he used through a private transaction.
Under federal law, private sales of firearms — such as between friends, relatives or even strangers — are not required to undergo a federal background check. Some 21 states plus Washington, D.C., have laws that require background checks on some private sales, but Texas isn't one of them. Two other states — Maryland and Pennsylvania — require a background check for handguns but not long guns.
Blunt argued that any expansion of background checks was something that the president probably wouldn’t sign and thus off the table for the time being. Trump said earlier this year that he supported universal background checks, but has since walked back on the comment.
The Democratic-controlled House passed a universal background check bill in February, but the Republican-majority Senate has not called it to a vote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.