U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan urged Senate leadership to take up universal background checks.
“Our laws cannot be effective if there are gaping loopholes that allow criminals and deranged individuals to purchase firearms over the Internet or at gun shows without background checks,” Buchanan said.
The Sarasota Republican’s promotion of the legislation adds to the bipartisan nature of a fresh call for gun control after two major mass shootings rocked the nation.
The Sarasota Republican sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praising the Kentucky Republican’s openness to background checks and red flag laws.
“Like you, I am a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, but our laws cannot be effective if there are gaping loopholes that allow criminals and deranged individuals to purchase firearms over the Internet or at gun shows without background checks,” Buchanan wrote.
The Sarasota Republican’s promotion of the legislation adds to the bipartisan nature of a fresh call for gun control following two major mass shootings rocked the nation. Buchanan in February cast one of just eight Republican votes in favor of the “Bipartisan Background Checks Act.”
Notably, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican representing a neighboring district, decried the legislation at the time.
“As written now, the current House gun control proposal would have done nothing to prevent many of the tragedies with firearms we’ve witnessed in recent years,” Steube wrote on Twitter.
That bill passed in the Democrat-controlled House but has not been taken up in the Senate.
But Buchanan suggested the Senate take the measure up in September, hopeful the national conversation on mass shootings shows the need for action.
Buchanan said 90 percent of Americans support expanded background checks.
“Last year, Congress proved it is capable of coming together on a bipartisan basis to find meaningful ways to address senseless violence by passing the Stop School Violence Act and the Fix NICS Act,” Buchanan said.
“These new laws will help train students, school personnel and law enforcement to more easily identify early warning signs of violence as well as improve the national database of people who are adjudicated mentally ill or otherwise disqualified from buying guns.”
Buchanan co-chairs the Florida Congressional Delegation.
Also of note, Buchanan faces a strong challenge to his reelection this year from Democratic state Rep, Margaret Good, who sponsored a universal background checks bill in the Florida Legislature this year.
Buchanan also voiced support for red flag laws, something also supported by U.S. Sen. Rick Scott in a Washington Post op-ed this weekend.