WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Senate Democrats are set to launch a campaign for tighter federal gun-control laws in an effort to quell gun violence in the United States in response to the mass murder by a gunman at Oregon's Umpqua Community College.
The campaign, which builds on Democrats' 2013 failed attempt to require universal background checks for gun purchases, will include adding additional money to the Justice Department's existing background check system and provisions to prevent domestic abusers from buying guns. The legislation will ensure all key records are sent to a federal database. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is expected to include a proposal to cut down on gun trafficking.
"We want to solve the problem and not just talk. So we're putting forward something that's solid and is supported by 90 percent of the American people," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., a leading advocate for stricter gun laws. "The critics of the Congress are right: We're not doing enough to protect against gun violence, so we're stepping up to show that we can do it."
The proposal is expected to be discussed at a press conference Thursday, but not introduced this week. Democrats expect the entire caucus to be onboard except North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who has previously opposed expanding background checks.
Also Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others renewed the call for a special congressional committee to study the cause of U.S. gun violence. A 12-person bipartisan board, with six lawmakers from both sides, would investigate gun violence with a focus on mass shootings and flaws in the background check system, among other things. A final report would be issued within 60 days of the committee's start.
Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, pointed to the Republican-led special committees on Benghazi and Planned Parenthood to argue gun violence merits its own probe.
"This House majority has created committees to bully Planned Parenthood and harass a presidential candidate, all the while allowing mass gun violence to go unchecked and unexamined on their watch," Thompson said.