The gun debate is still stalled in the Senate, just like the immigration debate stalled out a few weeks ago. But there’s one big difference that could help the gun debate avoid the same fate: This time, there’s a base bill that is pretty popular with both parties.
Amid the bipartisan spirit to address gaps in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) enters a spoiler: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Politico reported the engineer of this year’s government shutdown “signaled on Tuesday that his caucus may block the modest bipartisan proposal to improve — but not expand — background checks for gun purchases unless Republicans commit to voting on broader gun control measures.”
The outlet also wrote:
Democratic aides declined to specify which proposals they would insist on considering, but Schumer said his caucus “at a minimum” wants to debate universal background checks — which was filibustered twice in the Senate after the 2012 Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting despite bipartisan support.
So what Schumer is really saying is that progress on an issue is not worth it if Democrats don’t get everything they want. It also begs a question: does Schumer expect broader bills to pass the Senate, or does he just want to force tough votes in the chamber so he can use those votes in future political campaigns?