Several House Democrats are announcing a package of bills Tuesday aimed at preventing mass shootings and aiding communities that have experienced them. The legislation is the latest evidence that Democrats are making efforts to combat gun violence a priority a year after President Biden pressed Congress to pass new gun laws after shootings in Colorado and Georgia. The new push comes as some in the party argue Democrats need to do more to show voters, particularly women, they are serious about tackling crime ahead of the midterm elections, reports the Washington Post. Biden announced new steps to restrict so-called “ghost guns” on Monday and introduced his second nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, ex-prosecutor Steven Dettelbach. He also called on Congress to enact a universal background checks bill, which he pledged to get passed during the 2020 campaign.
The bills that six House Democrats -- Joe Neguse (CO), Veronica Escobar (TX), Ted Deutch (FL), Lucy McBath (GA), Andre Carson (IN) and Nikema Williams (GA) -- are introducing are more modest. The legislation would provide mental health funding in communities where shootings have occurred and expand a Justice Department grant program to include active shooter preparedness, among other measures. Neguse — whose district had a mass shooting last year that killed 10 people —said he saw the legislation as a complement to the background check bill that’s been stalled in the Senate for more than a year. While the bills haven’t drawn any Republican co-sponsors, Neguse said he’s talked with GOP lawmakers. “I anticipate that these bills will receive a positive response from at least some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle,” he said.