Aug. 8 (UPI) -- More than 200 U.S. mayors have called on Senate lawmakers to cut short their summer recess to take up new gun control bills that have already passed the House.
The mayors urged action in a letter Wednesday to Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who has said he won't call lawmakers back before recess ends -- despite growing calls to do so after three separate shooting attacks that killed more than 30 people in the last two weeks.
The letter is also addressed to Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer, who supports the expanded background checks outlined in two House bills.
The United States Conference of Mayors collected 214 signatures, including El Paso, Texas, Mayor Dee Margo and Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley. The letter cites more than 250 shootings in the United States this year.
"The tragic events in El Paso and Dayton this weekend are just the latest remainders that our nation can no longer wait for our federal government to take the actions necessary to prevent people who should not have access to firearms from being able to purchase them," it states. "Quick passage of these bills is a critical step to reducing gun violence in our country."
The House legislation would require all firearm purchases to go through the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It also closes loopholes, prohibits unlicensed gun transfers and makes it easier for law enforcement to trace guns.
This week, McConnell said he has assigned committee leaders to explore bipartisan solutions.
"Only serious, bipartisan, bicameral efforts will enable us to continue this important work and produce further legislation that can pass the Senate, pass the House and earn the president's signature," he said. "Partisan theatrics and campaign-trail rhetoric will only take us farther away from the progress all Americans deserve."
President Donald Trump has called for multiple reforms, and said Wednesday he also favors strengthening background checks. He said he'd also support "red flag" legislation that would allow the government to identify mentally ill who pose a danger and should be barred from possessing firearms.
The mayors call the House legislation "bipartisan, sensible gun safety bills" that would make cities safer without compromising gun owners' rights.
Thursday, former President Bill Clinton called for a return of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban his administration introduced in 1994.
"Assault weapons are designed to inflict maximum harm in a short period of time," he wrote in an op-ed in Time magazine. "It should come as no surprise that when we see high death and injury totals, from Sandy Hook to Las Vegas to Parkland to El Paso to Dayton, the killers have used these weapons."
"How many more people have to do die before we reinstate the assault weapons ban and the limit on high-capacity magazines & pass universal background checks?" he tweeted earlier this week.
Clinton's ban expired in 2004 and numerous efforts to revive the law have failed.
The 42nd U.S. president also criticized the National Rifle Association, saying it "pretends" to grieve while actively spreading paranoia.