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After two mass shootings, Congress looks at gun policy after August recess

Posted at 9:23 PM, Aug 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-26 22:23:43-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — After two mass shootings, in one day, earlier this month, gun control activists say now is the time something can be done in Congress to prevent future mass shootings.

After the fateful Saturday, where over 30 people were gunned down in El Paso and Dayton, many people, even Republicans, spoke out, saying Congress needs to pass some gun control measures.

But all of Congress is out of Washington DC throughout August, on recess, and both houses won't come back until September.

Multiple Republicans have recently came out in support of a red flag law. This would allow police to take away guns from those reported for potentially violent behavior.

Nebraska Republican Don Bacon agrees with a potential bill, if there is due process, saying it could have stopped the Parkland shooting in Florida.

"It's got to be a high threshold, information from family, maybe neighbors, like he's killing his pets, that happens. It cannot be something minor like going in for financial counseling at the VA,” says Bacon.

"I absolutely think we need to go further than red flag laws,” says Rep. Cindy Axne.

Freshman Congresswoman Cindy Axne (D) of Iowa was on the job just about a month when she, along with almost every house Democrat, passed a bill that requires background checks for every gun purchase.

Right now there's no federal mandate for private gun sales.

Rep. Axne wants the Senate to pass the House bill.

"This is not a partisan issue, the majority of Americans believe that there should be universal background checks,” says Axne.

She's got numbers to back that up. A recent NBC/WSJ poll shows 89 percent of Americans support universal background checks.

Bacon voted against the bill, saying it goes too far, but does think there needs to be due diligence on who a person sells a gun to.

Still, he doesn’t think family members should have to do background checks on each other.

"I don't think it should be illegal for me, most of the guns I've received, came from family members, like my dad, father in law, grandparents, and I don't think family should have to do a background check on, I think it's intrusive."

Axne also wants to revive an expired ban on assault weapons. This would make firearms like the AR-15, used in multiple mass shootings, illegal.

"These are not weapons that people need to protect them in their home, these are not weapons that people need for hunting, these are weapons that are meant for mass destruction,” says Axne.

Bacon, along with the President and most congressional Republicans, disagree.

"99 percent of Americans are law abiding people and many folks that have a gun for self-defense, some people have an AR-15 for self-defense, some people have it for doing a hobby. My goal is to protect that 99 percent,” says Axne.

Bacon said that cracking down on straw purchases would do the most cut down gun violence. That's how the felon who killed OPD officer Orozco, Marcus Wheeler, got his weapon.

His girlfriend, Jalita Johnson, bought the semi-automatic handgun at a Georgia pawn shop.