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El Paso, Dayton mayors urge U.S. Senate to return to D.C. for gun bill vote, but McConnell says no

More than 200 mayors, including the mayors of El Paso and Dayton, are urging the U.S. Senate to return to the Capitol to act on gun safety legislation amid criticism that Congress is failing to respond to back-to-back shootings that left 31 people dead.

In a letter Thursday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the mayors wrote, “Our nation can no longer wait for our federal government to take the actions necessary to prevent people who should not have access to firearms from being able to purchase them.”

The mayors urged the Senate to vote on two House-passed bills expanding background checks for gun sales that passed that chamber earlier this year. It was signed by El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and Dayton, Ohio Mayor Nan Whaley and others where mass shootings have occurred, including Orlando and Parkland, Florida, Pittsburgh and Annapolis, Maryland.

But McConnell quickly rejected the idea of calling senators back to Washington from their summer recess to work on gun measures. He claims it would just lead to senators “scoring points and nothing would happen.”

Instead, he said he wants to spend the August recess talking with Democratic and Republican senators to see what’s possible.

“What we can’t do is fail to pass something,” McConnell said. “What I want to see here is an outcome.”

Republicans have resisted expanding background checks, but face enormous pressure to do something in the aftermath of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend that killed 31 people.

The politics of gun violence are difficult for Republicans, including McConnell. He could risk losing support as he seeks re-election in Kentucky if he were to back restricting access to firearms and ammunition.

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