Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says he’ll bring up gun control in the Senate this fall if it has President Trump’s support, but that he’s not going to waste the chamber’s time on anything that doesn’t.
In a Tuesday interview on the Hugh Hewitt Show, McConnell said that the administration “is in the process of studying what they’re prepared to support, if anything” and he expects “to get an answer to that next week.”
“If the president is in favor of a number of things that he has discussed openly and publicly and I know that if we pass it, it will become law, I’ll put it on the floor,” the majority leader added.
During the interview, McConnell also explained that the need for presidential support was behind his decision to not bring up a background check bill passed by the Democrat-controlled House earlier this year.
“I said several weeks ago that if the president took a position on a bill, so that we knew we would actually be making a law and not just having serial votes, I’d be happy to put it on the floor,” McConnell told Hewitt.
During a local radio interview in August, the Kentucky senator said that “the key to this honestly is making a law, not making a point” when explaining that he wouldn’t be calling the Senate back early from recess to take up gun control.
What kind of gun control, if any, the White House might support remains unclear, as the president continues to mull his options. President Trump has seemed to back off of the idea of passing new background check laws in response to the weekend shooting in Odessa and Midland, Texas.
While outside the White House on Sunday, the president told reporters that his team is “looking at a lot of different bills, ideas, concepts,” but also pointed out, “It’s been going on for a long while, background checks. I will say that for the most part, sadly, if you look at the last four or five, going back even five or six or seven years, for the most part, as strong as you make your background checks, they would not have stopped any of it.”
This stands in contrast to Trump’s response to the El Paso and Dayton shootings a few weeks ago, after which he publicly discussed the possibility of “bring[ing] up background checks like we’ve never had before.”
However, neither Trump nor members of his team have shown any such retreat on the subject of “red flag” gun confiscation laws, which the president called for in early August immediately after the El Paso and Dayton shootings. At a roundtable with law enforcement last week, Vice President Mike Pence discussed the potential of using his home state of Indiana’s “red flag” law as a model for other firearm confiscation measures.
Gun control isn’t the only policy response to recent shootings on the table; following the news of this past weekend’s attack, Trump’s Department of Justice put together draft legislation to speed up execution of mass murderers.