Alabama’s Congressional Democrats ready for gun control action, Republicans mum

gun control Congress

Americans across the country are once again calling on Congress to take action on gun control following last week’s massacre in Parkland, Fla. that left 17 people dead at a high school.

While Congress has yet to take action, President Donald Trump helped move the conversation forward on Monday when he offered support for a limited strengthening of federal background checks on gun purchases.

“While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system,” confirmed White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Trump’s is referring to the Fix NICS Act. Introduced last year by Texas-Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the bill is aimed to “fix” the way in which existing background checks can prevent firearm purchases by those who present possible red flags to state and local authorities.

The legislation would ensure that federal and state authorities comply with existing law and accurately report relevant criminal history records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill also penalizes federal agencies that fail to properly report relevant records and incentivizes states to improve their overall reporting and directs more federal funding to the accurate reporting of domestic violence records.

Within the Alabama delegation, Democrats U.S. Sen. Doug Jones and 7th District U.S. Rep. Terri A. Sewell are glad to see Trump’s support for policy change and are ready to see Congress take action.

“I absolutely support strengthening our background check system, and I’m glad the President agrees,” said Jones. “We need better data reported to the database, we need to close the gun show loophole, and we need to look at ways we can improve school safety. These won’t fix the problem overnight, but they are common sense first steps that we can take immediately.”

Sewell agrees the Fix NICS Act is a step in the right direction.

“I strongly agree that the Congress must take bipartisan action to strengthen background checks and address the epidemic of gun violence that has claimed so many lives,” remarked Sewell. “The Fix NICS Act is a step in the right direction, but alone, it is not enough to address the tragic reality of gun violence in America that has struck communities from Parkland to Las Vegas to Newtown.”

But Sewell doesn’t believe the bill, which is backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, goes far enough on its own.

“This bill does not close the gun show loophole or prevent the reckless sale of bump stocks, both of which deserve legislative solutions,” Sewell added. “I believe the President’s support for Sen. Cornyn’s bill is proof of the growing public demand for action among both Republicans and Democrats. I have always been a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, but Congress can no longer settle for symbolic gestures when gun violence kills more Americans every day.”

Meanwhile Republicans have remained mostly mum offering only their thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families. 1st District U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne being the only exception.

When Alabama Today asked all members of the Alabama delegation whether or not they supported improving the federal background check system, Byrne’s was the only Republican office to respond.

“Congressman Byrne is open to evaluating any proposal from the Trump Administration regarding potential changes to the background check system. He will wait to review the proposals before weighing in,” said Byrne spokesperson Seth Morrow.