NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are both pushing for Congress to pass stricter gun laws, including an assault weapons ban.
But getting any new gun legislation through an evenly divided Senate appears unlikely, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Wednesday.
“We are seeing tragedy after tragedy,” Harris said on CBS This Morning.
The vice president is calling for Congress to finally reform gun laws, as the nation mourns 18 lives lost in mass shootings in a week.
“Stop with the false choices. This is not about getting rid of the Second Amendment. It’s simply about saying we need reasonable gun safety laws. There is no reason why we have assault weapons on the streets of a civil society,” Harris said.
On Tuesday, President Biden urged Congress to ban assault weapons and pass two bills approved in the House. One closes a loophole that allows a gun sale if the background check isn’t finished within three days. The other requires background checks on nearly all gun purchases, including private sellers.
But without Senate action, the nation remains a patchwork of gun laws.
Republican senators weighed in.
“Banning the weapon is not going to solve the problem. I own an AR-15. I own it responsibly,” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said.
“I think the first thing Congress needs to do is to insist that the bureaucracy enforce the laws that we have passed,” added Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana.
“Their target is on the law-abiding citizens. What actually works is targeting the bad guys,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said.
But three years after the Parkland massacre, the mother of murdered teacher Scott Beigel says Senate inaction has clearly not worked.
“It’s not working that way. So let’s try the new way. Pass the gun safety legislation. We are not taking away guns from responsible gun owners,” gun safety advocate Linda Schulman said.
What then will crack decades of partisan gridlock? Local members of Congress are calling for abolishing the Senate’s arcane filibuster, which requires a 60-vote margin instead of a majority.
“Matters of public safety like gun control should be exempt from the filibuster, that whenever the lives of Americans are at stake we should have the ability to act urgently,” East Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand blames gridlock on the gun lobby.
“Congress has been paralyzed and they are largely paralyzed because of the NRA,” Gillibrand said.
Harris said Biden hasn’t ruled out executive action, but prefers Congress to enact permanent gun safety laws.