There have been marches and speeches. Memos and tweets. But what exactly is on the table legislatively in Washington when it comes to changing gun laws and school safety? And what proposals have a chance at becoming reality? Here are the six key proposals to watch.
- “Fix NICS.” This Republican-led bill would not create any new background checks. But it would push federal agencies and others to submit more data and comply with the current system. The House passed this bill and coupled it with a pro-gun measure to allow concealed carry permits to be in effect across state lines. The Senate is unlikely to pass that and may break the bill in two pieces, forcing a potentially difficult decision down the road in the House.
- Manchin-Toomey. This bill, written after the Newtown massacre, would have expanded background checks to include most private sales. It failed in 2013, receiving 54 votes when it needed 60. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. told the PBS NewsHour and others today that some of the lawmakers behind those ‘no’ votes in 2013 are reconsidering right now. Senate Democrats are likely to push hard for some version of this or other “universal” background check bills.
- No Fly-No Buy. This bill, a bipartisan effort that was in part a response to the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, would ban anyone on the nation’s terror watch lists from buying a gun. A handful of senators are making a vocal effort to revive this plan, but it’s not yet clear if it has any momentum.
- Increased age restrictions. President Donald Trump supports the idea of increasing the minimum age for purchasing at least some rifles to 21. Republicans in Congress are considering this at the moment, but they’re uncertain. “I’m still looking at that issue,” Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La, said, “but clearly many of these shootings would not have been prevented by that.” You should also keep an eye on Florida, where a state House committee today passed a bill that would boost the age for rifle purchases.
- Assault weapons ban. A ban of 19 types of assault-style weapons was in place from 1994 to 2004, when it expired. Now some on the left, and at least one Republican, want to bring it back. But Republican leaders say it has no chance of passing.
- Arming teachers. This is another proposal strongly endorsed by Trump, but it’s not clear if Congress will take up this idea or leave it to state and local lawmakers. A key development would be if Congress discusses giving states funding for such programs. It currently seems unlikely. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., did not weigh in directly on that idea but told the NewsHour, “I think more of these solutions should happen at the state and local level.”