Democrats press GOP for stricter gun laws

Democratic leaders in Washington ratcheted up the pressure on President Donald Trump and Republicans on the issue of gun control, after a wave of mass shootings during a six-week recess for Congress, saying at a forum on Tuesday that the Senate must act to curb gun violence.


(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI, SAYING:

"Thousands of people, thousands of children have died since Senator McConnell first refused to take up our bills."


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi touted three gun measures - part of a coordinated strategy between House and Senate Democrats to push Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on such bills, including universal background check legislation that passed the House in February.


(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI, SAYING:

"We will do our part yet Senator McConnell refuses to do his part to save lives. No one's political survival is more important than the survival of our children."


In the halls of the Capitol, firebrand representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez said gun legislation was a top priority.

(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ, SAYING:

"We're just proposing simple, universal background checks, and you know, with H.R. 8 that's been passed earlier this year, if Republicans don't want to agree to that, then frankly, they're being completely unreasonable and we have to press forward with our agenda because kids are dying."


Meanwhile, Trump huddled with Republican leaders at the White House. A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that they were expected to talk about gun legislation.


McConnell on Tuesday said Republicans would not vote on anything that isn't backed by the president.


(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) SENATE MJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL, SAYING:

"My members know the very simple fact that to make a law you have to have a presidential signature... until that happens, all of this is theatrics."


Earlier this week, Trump stressed the need to protect gun owner rights.


(SOUND BITE) (ENGLISH) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING:

"We have to protect our second amendment very strongly and we will always do that."


With a majority of voters favoring background check legislation, Democrats are hoping to underscore the sharp differences between them and Republicans at a time when, according to a new Gallup poll, nearly half of Americans worry that they or a family member could become victims of a mass shooting.