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Pelosi urges Trump to call Senate back into session to consider gun legislation

Key Points
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday urging him to bring Senate lawmakers back into session to pass gun legislation following a weekend of devastating shootings.
  • Pelosi's letter comes in the wake of two deadly shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, as well as gun violence in Chicago.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on a radio show that he was willing to pass gun control legislation, but only if it was reached on a "bipartisan basis."
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, speaks to members of the media while departing a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., March 26, 2019.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday urging him to bring Senate lawmakers back into session to consider gun legislation following a weekend of devastating shootings.

Pelosi's letter comes in the wake of two deadly shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, as well as gun violence in Chicago.

"Mr. President, we have an opportunity to work in a bipartisan way to pass gun violence prevention background checks," Pelosi, D- Calif., said in her letter. "This extraordinary moment in our history requires all of us to take extraordinary action to save lives."

Earlier this week, House Democrats sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office urging him to bring the Senate back into session to pass two bills expanding universal background checks and closing gun show loopholes. So far, McConnell, R-Ky., has not brought the legislation up for a vote.

"In February, the new Democratic House Majority took swift action to pass these bipartisan bills which not only save lives, but also has the support of more than 90 percent of the American people," the letter, which was signed by over 200 Democratic members, said, "This inaction must stop."

Trump said Wednesday that he would bring lawmakers back to Washington from their August recess if Republicans and Democrats can "get close" on a gun reform proposal. 

"If we get close, I will bring them back, but it has to be — you know, we have to see where we are with leadership," the president told reporters. "Normally, this has been really a decision — Congress gets together and they try to do something, but if you look over the last 30 years, not a lot has been done."

McConnell has said he will not bring Congress back into session early from its August recess, but on a Kentucky radio show Thursday said he is willing to have the conversation on red flag laws, background checks and even assault weapons bans.

"We want to see if we can achieve something on a bipartisan basis. I don't want to just engage in finger-pointing or making a point," McConnell said. "What has happened after every one of these shootings has been a temptation to just engage in political discourse rather than actually passing something."