Democrats to launch gun control push that's almost certain to fail

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Gun Control Legislation To Be Introduced By Senate Dems


Last week the Washington Post reported that gun control measures were still "unlikely to gain steam" in Congress, even after the mass shooting at Oregon's Umpqua Community College. Yet, in a surprising move, on Thursday congressional Democrats are set to launch a campaign for new legislation to combat gun violence ... that has almost no chance of passing in the Republican-controlled Senate, to say nothing of the House. Democrats are eager to show that they're willing to take action, even if Republicans aren't willing to consider new gun restrictions.

"We want to solve the problem and not just talk. So we're putting forward something that's solid and is supported by 90 percent of the American people," said Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. "The critics of the Congress are right: We're not doing enough to protect against gun violence, so we're stepping up to show that we can do it."

Senators Chuck Schumer and Debbie Stabenow outlined the plan, which will be announced at a press conference on Thursday morning, in a letter to their colleagues. It involves strengthening background checks by closing a loophole that allows gun purchases to proceed if the FBI's check isn't completed in three days, eliminating loopholes for firearms purchased online and at gun shows, and providing more funding for the existing federal background check system. The proposal also calls for new restrictions on gun trafficking, domestic abusers who attempt to purchase weapons, and straw purchasing, or buying a gun for someone who legally can't purchase one themselves. "These principles will be a rallying point for a public that is eager for Congressional action, and will be the basis for future legislation that we will demand receive a vote," the senators said in the letter.

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Ultimately, the legislation may be nothing more than a rallying point. Many of the same proposals appeared in the bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey in 2013, which failed by five votes. According to Politico, Democratic leaders are wary of compromising with Republicans again only to see another gun control bill fail. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Republican, already has a bill in the works that focuses on expanding mental-health treatment and encourages states to provide mental-health records to the federal background-check database. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said he would "be taking a look" at that legislation, but it's unclear if Democrats will be willing to add his proposals to their package. It seems fairly unlikely, since Cornyn has already dismissed everything proposed by Democratic leaders, including President Obama and Hillary Clinton, saying they have "not come up with any solutions — any constructive ideas."

Schumer and Stabenow have not said when they plan to formally introduce the legislation, and it may not even make it to the floor for consideration – though a Democratic aide told the AP that the plan is to use procedural delays to force Republicans to hold a vote. Democrats hope that getting the Republicans' opposition to gun control on the record will hurt certain senators up for reelection in 2016. After all, both sides could make another serious attempt to find common ground on reducing gun violence, but using the issue as political fodder is so much easier.

See more images from the aftermath of the Oregon shooting:

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Democrats to launch gun control push that's almost certain to fail
People embrace during a prayer vigil Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Winston, Ore. The vigil was held in honor of the victims of the fatal shooting at Umpqua Community College on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
People walk on a path at Umpqua Community College, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. The campus reopened on a limited basis for faculty and students for the first time since armed suspect Chris Harper-Mercer killed multiple people and wounded several others on Thursday before taking his own life at Snyder Hall. (AP Photo/John Locher)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: A sign at the edge of campus welcomes students and staff back to Umpqua Community College on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched around large areas of the school, the campus was open to staff and students today for the first time since last Thursday when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. Classes are not scheduled to resume until next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Faculty members embrace as they are allowed to return to Umpqua Community College Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. The campus reopened to faculty for the first time since Oct. 1, when armed suspect Chris Harper-Mercer killed multiple people and wounded several others before taking his own life at Snyder Hall. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Ethan Hurley, 7, top right, prays with a church group at a makeshift memorial near Snyder Hall at Umpqua Community College, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed suspect Chris Harper-Mercer on Thursday killed multiple people and wounded several others before taking his own life at Snyder Hall. (AP Photo/John Locher)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 04: Families Roseburg's Green Community Church and Lutheran Church Charities pause to pray at a memorial in front of Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College on October 4, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Chris Harper Mercer, 26, went on a shooting rampage October 1 at the campus, killing nine people and wounding another nine before killing himself, according to published reports. Lacey says she believes she survived the shooting by playing dead next to the bleeding body of fellow student Treven Anspach, who died in the shooting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
WINSTON, OR - OCTOBER 03: Residents of Douglas County attend a prayer service and candlelight vigil at River Bend Park to remember the victims of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in nearby Roseburg on October 3, 2015 in Winston, Oregon. On Thursday 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage at the college killing nine people and wounding another nine before killing himself. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Umpqua Community College shooting survivor Mathew Downing (C) is greeted as he arrives on campus near Snyder Hall on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Downing was reported to have been given a package by gunman Chris Harper-Mercer and told he was the 'lucky one' who would survive to deliver the package to authorities. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched around large areas of the school, the campus was open to staff and students today for the first time since last Thursday when 26-year-old Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage in Snyder Hall killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. Classes are not scheduled to resume until next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Ashley Katter, left, embraces Haley Lamphere while holding Katter's niece Ruby Abrahamson during a prayer vigil Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Winston, Ore. The vigil was held in honor of the victims of the fatal shooting at Umpqua Community College on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: People hold a prayer circle outside Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched around large areas of the school, the campus was open to staff and students today for the first time since last Thursday when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage in Snyder Hall killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. Classes are not scheduled to resume until next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Students Sharon Kirkham (L) and Kristapher Yates visit a memorial dedicated to the slain students on the campus of Umpqua Community College on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched around large areas of the school, the campus was open to staff and students today for the first time since last Thursday when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. Classes are not scheduled to resume until next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Police stand guard outside Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched around large areas of the school, the campus was open to staff and students today for the first time since last Thursday when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage in Snyder Hall killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. Classes are not scheduled to resume until next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Kyle Workman, second from right, holds his daughter Samantha Workman while sitting beside his wife Christina Workman who is holding their daughter Pepper Workman during a prayer vigil Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Winston, Ore. The vigil was held in honor of the victims of the fatal shooting at Umpqua Community College on Thursday. (AP Photo/John Locher)
WINSTON, ORE. -- SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2015: Led by Toni New, a Chaplain with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, not pictured, friends of the late Rebecka Ann Carnes, an Umpqua Community College mass shootings victim, embrace one another in prayer during a memorial service called 'Prayers for Roseburg,' at Riverbend Park in Winston, Ore., on Oct. 3, 2015. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: A faculty member walks past a privacy fence that surrounds Snyder Hall on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched aroud large areas of the school, the campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage at Snyder, killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Police officers remove a barricade on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. The campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Staff members embrace as they arrive on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched aroud large areas of the school, the campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: A woman navigates crime scene tape as she holds flowers on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched aroud large areas of the school, the campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Staff members embrace as they arrive on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Despite crime scene tape still being stretched aroud large areas of the school, the campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Dr. Christine Seals speaks during a news conference at Umpqua Community College Monday, Oct. 5, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. The campus reopened on a limited basis for faculty and students for the first time since armed suspect Chris Harper-Mercer killed multiple people and wounded several others on Thursday before taking his own life at Snyder Hall. (AP Photo/John Locher)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 05: Police officers remove crime scene tape on the campus of Umpqua Community College as it reopens on October 5, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. The campus was opened to staff and faculty today for the first time since October 1, when 26-year-old Chris Harper-Mercer went on a shooting rampage killing nine people and wounding another nine before he was killed. The campus is scheduled to open to students in the afternoon and classes are scheduled to resume next week. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Authorities block a road leading to the Umpqua Community College Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, walked in a classroom at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing several and wounding several others. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Greg Kennerly, left, and Oregon State Trooper Tom Willis, stand guard outside the apartment building, Friday Oct. 2 2015, where alleged Umpqua Community College gunman Chris Harper Mercer lived, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Harper, 26, walked in a writing class at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing several and wounding several others. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Law enforcement officers investigate a home in Roseburg, Ore., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. A gunman opened fire inside a classroom at Umpqua Community College before dying in a shootout with police. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A building on the Umpqua Community College campus is seen on a hill as birds fly over the North Umpqua River Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, walked in a classroom at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing several and wounding several others. (AP Photo/John Locher)
A sign hangs on a fence near the road leading to the Umpqua Community College campus Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, walked into a classroom at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing multiple people and wounding several others. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Authorities block a road leading to the Umpqua Community College Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. Armed with multiple guns, Chris Harper Mercer, 26, walked in a classroom at the community college, Thursday, and opened fire, killing several and wounding several others. (AP Photo/John Locher)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 02: Media vehicles line the road near Umpqua Community College on October 2, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Yesterday 10 people were killed and another seven were wounded on the campus when 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 02: Emergency workers block access to Umpqua Community College on October 2, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Yesterday 10 people were killed and another seven were wounded on the campus when 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 02: Crime scene tape limits access to Umpqua Community College on October 2, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Yesterday 10 people were killed and seven were wounded on the campus when 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
TARZANA, CA OCTOBER 2: LAPD outside the home of Ian Harper Friday morning October 2, 2015 in Tarzana. Harper is the father of Oregon shooting suspect, Chris Harper Mercer. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
TARZANA, CA OCTOBER 2: Media set up outside the home of Ian Harper Friday morning October 2, 2015 in Tarzana. Harper is the father of Oregon shooting suspect, Chris Harper Mercer. (Photo by Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
ROSEBURG, OR - OCTOBER 02: A media vehicle sits under a sign in a hotel parking lot which advertises Umpqua Community College on October 2, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Yesterday 10 people were killed and another seven were wounded on the campus when 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer went on a shooting rampage. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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