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Politics & Government

Sen. Coons renews call for Congress to pass gun legislation

Sarah Mueller
Delaware Public Media
Sen. Chris Coons talks with business leaders in Rehoboth Beach

Delaware’s junior Sen. Chris Coons is pushing gun legislation in the wake of recent mass shootings.

Coons has called for the Senate to pass background check legislation this month that cleared the House earlier this year. The Senate is in recess until next month.

President Donald Trump initially endorsed strengthening background checks in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio that killed 31 people and injured dozens more. But he’s since walked that back.

Coons said nothing will pass without Trump’s leadership on the issue.

“Without President Trump showing leadership in strengthening background checks for our whole country to make us safer, I don’t think the Republican majority in the Senate will see the courage they need to stand up to the NRA on this single important issue,” he said.

Support for red flag laws have also appears to have cooled among Congressional Republicans. The laws allow law enforcement to remove firearms from people considered to be a danger to themselves or others.

That’s despite an American Public Media Research Lab survey released this week that shows a majority of Americans, including Republicans and gun owners, support red flag laws.

According to the survey, which was done before the shootings in Texas and Ohio, 77 percent of Americans surveyed support family-initiated Emergency Risk Protection Orders, and 70 percent support them when initiated by law enforcement. Sixty percent of gun owners and more than 60 percent of Republicans support allowing police to seek the ERPO court orders. And 70 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of gun owners support allowing family members to seek them.

Delaware’s junior senator is cosponsoring a bill with Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania that ensures law enforcement in every state is notified when someone who is prohibited from buying a gun tries to buy one.

“In the state of Delaware and in 30 other states, if you go into the gun store and lie on the form and try to buy a gun, that information is not shared with anyone; it’s simply thrown out," he said. "In the state of Pennsylvania, it is shared with state police. And so Pat Toomey and I are working together to try and make that national policy.”

Sen. Chris Coons said the legislation will make Delawareans and other Americans safer.

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