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Two gun control proposals are already being discussed in Congress. Will they move forward now?

Nothing will be done. We all know that.
The El Paso shooting Saturday, which left 22 people dead, is the deadliest since the 2017 Sutherland Springs shooting.

President Trump mentioned “strong background checks” and “red flag laws” as he condemned the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio that left 30 dead and dozens wounded.

Proposals for both have been discussed in Congress. But do they have a better chance now that the divisive, controversial Republican president has mentioned them in a speech and promised to act with “urgent resolve”?

Congress has been unable to pass substantial gun violence legislation, despite the continuing trend of horrific mass shootings, in large part because of resistance from Republicans, particularly in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Here’s some background, compiled from Globe wire and major media reports.


Background checks

Trump’s call for “strong background checks” came with few details — and questions.

After other mass shootings Trump has called for strengthening the federal background check system, and in 2018 he signed legislation to increase federal agency data sharing into the system. But he has resisted Democratic calls to toughen other gun control laws.

In February, the House approved bipartisan legislation to require federal background checks for all gun sales and transfers and approved legislation to allow a review period of up to 10 days for background checks on firearms purchases, The Associated Press reported.

The White House threatened a presidential veto if those measures passed Congress.

At a February meeting with survivors and family members of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting in which 17 people died, Trump promised to be ‘‘very strong on background checks.’’

Trump claimed he would stand up to the gun lobby and finally get results in quelling gun violence. But he later retreated, expressing support for modest changes to the federal background check system and for arming teachers.

In the wake of the latest shootings, Senate Majority Mitch McConnell has been drawing criticism for not allowing a vote on the House legislation in the Senate.


Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer tweeted that if Trump is serious about strengthening background checks, he should demand McConnell ‘‘put the bipartisan, House-passed universal background checks bill up for a vote.’’

Trump suggested Monday morning in a pair of tweets that a background check bill could be paired with his efforts to toughen the nation’s immigration system. It was not clear why. Both suspects were US citizens and anti-immigrant bias is suspected as the motive in the Texas attack. But Trump has frequently tried to piggyback his immigration plans on legislation that he perceives have momentum.

Red flag laws

Red flag laws are aimed at better identifying mentally ill people who should not be allowed to purchase guns. Under such laws, a family member or police officer can petition a court to temporarily restrict someone’s ability to buy or have guns.

Some prominent Republicans, including US Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida, have supported red flag laws, also known as extreme-risk protection orders. In an interview earlier this year, Rubio said he had been influenced by how routine mass shootings had become.

Trump’s daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, tweeted an endorsement of red flag laws on Sunday.

Graham said Monday he had reached an agreement with Democratic US Senator Richard Blumenthal to create a federal grant program to help states adopt red flag laws.

The grants would be given to law enforcement so they can hire and consult with mental health professionals to better determine which cases need to be acted upon, Graham said, adding that while the program allows for quick action, it requires judicial review.


Graham and Blumenthal teamed up on a red flag bill last year, but the bill did not come up for a vote in the Senate.

Blumenthal tweeted Sunday that the Senate should come back into session to approve such ‘‘common-sense steps to stop gun violence.’’ Addressing McConnell and other leaders, he said, ‘‘Now is the time for action, not time away, or time off.’’

USA Today reported in May that 15 states, in addition to Washington, D.C., had enacted red flag laws, while another 21 had taken steps toward it.

The newspaper reported Graham was pushing for the laws to be passed at the local, not federal level – and proposing a national grant program to “incentivize” states to pass them.

Massachusetts passed its own red flag law in July 2018. The Globe reported that by this February state judges had issued a half-dozen orders stripping firearms from people identified as being dangers to themselves or others. One request for an order was denied. The law was hailed as a lifesaving measure that closed a gap in the state’s already-strong gun laws.

Material from Globe wire services was used in this report.