Sinema, Kelly on board with gun reform push but face long odds in the Senate

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By Yvonne Wingett Sanchez | Arizona Republic

In the aftermath of the mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, President Joe Biden and Democratic senators reiterated years-long demands for tightened gun-control measures, but it’s unclear whether they can muster enough support to pass a narrowly divided Senate.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., want to expand the nation’s background check systems, close loopholes that allow domestic abusers to buy firearms, and fund research through the federal government to better understand the public health consequences of gun violence.

Their support comes as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said he would force a vote in the 50-50 Senate to expand background checks. 

“We must not shrink from our moral obligation to act,” Schumer said Wednesday. But to clear a GOP filibuster, which requires 60 votes, Democrats would need to pick up significant support from Republicans, many of whom deem proposals that have already cleared the House of Representatives as going too far.

Before the mass shootings, the Democrat-controlled House passed a pair of bills as they renewed calls for meaningful gun-reform. One would expand background checks for gun purchases. The other, aimed at closing the so-called “Charleston loophole,” addresses a gap in federal law that allows gun sales to proceed without a completed background check if three business days have passed. 

Neither Sinema nor Kelly commented specifically on the House-passed legislation.

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