March 8, 2019 3:20 a.m.
Oregon’s U.S. Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley have called for hearings on gun violence prevention and universal background checks legislation.
A release from the senators, said the pair wrote to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina.
The letter said that “statistics demonstrate that universal background checks save lives and polls show that 97 percent of Americans support the implementation of these checks”. The letter was signed by 36 other senators.
The letter said the group had noted with interest statements that Graham intended to have the committee work on “red flag” legislation and potentially also background checks, “both actions we strongly support”. The letter asked that hearings be held as soon as possible.
The Wednesday letter came after the U.S. House of Representatives last week passed the Backgrounds Checks Act. The release said the Senate counterpart bill, the Background Check Expansion Act is pending in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The release said the House also passed the Enhanced Background Checks Act, a bill aimed at closing the “Charleston loophole” in the background check system that made it possible for the gunman in the Charleston church shooting in Graham’s home state, to buy a firearm.