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Mid-South lawmakers weigh in on gun legislation

Updated: Mar. 24, 2021 at 4:08 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As the country mourns another mass shooting in Colorado, lawmakers in Washington are once again confronting calls for gun reform.

“This should not be a partisan issue, it will save lives, American lives, and we have to act,” said President Joe Biden.

On Tuesday, Biden called on the Senate to pass two bills the House recently approved that change background check laws.

The first bill would require background checks on nearly all gun purchases, including transactions involving unlicensed or private sellers. The other bill would aim to close the “Charleston loophole,” which allows the sale of a firearm to proceed if a background check isn’t completed within three days, by expanding the review period to 10 days.

Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) voted in favor of both bills.

“Every life that’s taken, we don’t know if the people are democrats or republicans. Your hearts go out to their families and to them, and it’s wrong,” said Cohen.

Congressman David Kustoff (TN-08) voted against them, saying in a statement,

“These bills would place more restrictive burdens on law-abiding gun owners and at the same time fail to stop criminals from obtaining firearms. I am committed to working with my colleagues to find real solutions that curb gun violence. However, these bills infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Congressman Bennie Thompson, the only Democratic U.S. Representative from Mississippi was also the only Mississippi congressman to vote in favor of the bills.

In a statement he said,

“I supported each of the gun reform bills. Both legislations are common sense, and if they are approved in the Senate our country will be safer because of it.”

Each of Arkansas’ four congressmen voted against both bills.

Now the bills move to the Senate where they’re expected to face an uphill battle.

Several U.S. Senators from the Mid-South weighed-in on gun legislation.

A spokesperson for U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), said the bills may in part, ”make violence more likely by making it harder for law-abiding citizens to obtain a firearm to be used in self-defense.”

“What unfolded in Colorado was a tragedy, but law enforcement is still actively investigating this terrible crime and all the facts are not yet known,” said Republican Sen. John Boozman of Arkansas. “I will continue to uphold the Second Amendment right of law-abiding citizens and vote against legislation like the recent House-passed bills that erodes this constitutional right.

“I will not support any attempt to infringe or undermine the Constitution’s Second Amendment protections,” said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).

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