Democratic lawmakers said Wednesday that a renewed push for gun control is likely to surface in debates about a sweeping spending bill making its way through the House of Representatives this week.
Representative Steny Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat, told reporters that his party is considering making a push for amendments to the 2015 funding bill for the Commerce and Justice departments that would expand background checks for gun purchases and preserve a Federal rule requiring reporting of multiple purchases of semi-automatic rifles in border States.
The gun control talk has resurfaced after a severely disturbed 22-year-old went on a shooting spree in California which left four people dead, including him. The murderer had earlier stabbed three others.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) blamed the attack on the National Rifle Association.
“Unfortunately, the NRA continues to have a stranglehold on Congress,” she said, “preventing even commonsense measures like universal background checks that have overwhelming support. Until that happens, we will continue to see these devastating attacks. Shame on us for allowing this to continue.”
The rampage took place in a region where many of the gun control mandates Feinstein is pushing at the Federal level already exist at the State and local levels.
Hoyer admits that it is unlikely that expanded background checks would have done much to prevent the most recent shooting tragedy, but contends that Congress must act in some way.
“In this instance it may not have made a difference, but it’s clear that in many instances it would have made a difference,” Hoyer said.
“And it’s also clear the overwhelming majority of the American public think it makes sense to make sure somebody is mentally stable before they buy something that, misused, can cause damage to a lot of people very quickly,” he added.