Democratic and Republican senators said Sunday that lawmakers in both parties could support expanded background checks for gun sales amid increasing pressure to enact meaningful gun-control measures after two recent mass shootings left 18 dead, reports the Washington Post. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) framed the gun debate as a chance for Republicans to prove that they can work with Democrats to pass legislation, avoiding the need to eliminate the Senate filibuster, as some Democrats have urged. If 60 senators join forces to approve expanded background checks, Murphy said, that could create an opening to cooperate on other matters. Murphy believes that bills approved by the House earlier this month could not survive in the Senate without substantial changes and lack support from even some moderate Democrats.
The House bills would expand background checks to include private transactions between unlicensed individuals and close a loophole that allows gun sales to go through after three business days even if the background check is incomplete. By relaxing House-approved limitations on gun sales between family members, Murphy said, Democrats stand a good chance of winning Republican support. Gun-control advocates have urged Biden to use his executive powers to crack down on gun violence, and the White House has been exploring various options, including strengthening background checks and increasing funding for community anti-violence programs. On Friday, Biden said he is considering executive orders that would limit access to imported weapons and guns produced on 3-D printers.