The details of a gun control bill being written by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are now coming to light. As first reported by Politico, Grassley is crafting a Republican alternative to Democrats’ proposals, which are centered on expanding background checks, including information-sharing and record-keeping. In a follow-up piece this morning, Politico suggests that Grassley’s effort could draw moderates of both parties away from the Democrats’ main proposal.
Previously Grassley’s office has declined to comment on the bill being authored, but in an interview today Press Secretary Beth Levine laid out the Iowa Republican’s legislative priorities. She said Grassley is considering five main points: addressing mental health challenges; reining in gun trafficking; preventing school violence and ensuring student safety; protecting veterans from false mental health accusations (e.g. of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder); and improving enforcement of existing laws regarding state information-sharing for the background check database. (On the latter point Levine added that only “13 states do it.”)
Grassley was the only Judiciary Committee Republican to support beefed up penalties for straw purchases a few weeks ago, but Levine said she could not comment on whether his legislation would do so. Whether Grassley’s plan will be introduced as a single measure may depend on how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid schedules the debate and votes surrounding gun control, Levine said.
However, it is unclear when he will. This morning Roll Call characterized Reid as “biding his time, even as President Barack Obama embarks on an aggressive new push for votes,” adding:
Leadership tentatively had planned to bring up the gun bill as early as this week, straight off the two-week holiday break, but aides said the leadership’s preference is for all the pieces to be resolved before taking the bill to the floor.
For her part, Levine said, “We are hearing rumors he may wait until next week.”
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