'Unfathomable pain': Democrats demand action on gun control after back-to-back shootings

WASHINGTON — Democrats are demanding action on gun control in the wake of another mass shooting, this one at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, on Monday that left 10 people dead.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday that Congress must pass legislation to address gun violence.

“For the second time in a week, our nation is being confronted by the epidemic of gun violence," she said in a statement. "Too many families in too many places are being forced to endure this unfathomable pain and anguish. Action is needed now to prevent this scourge from continuing to ravage our communities."

Vice President Kamala Harris said of the latest shooting, "It's absolutely baffling, it's 10 people going about their day living their lives, not bothering anybody. A police officer who is performing his duties, and with great courage and heroism," referring to the officer who was killed when responding to the scene.

In an interview on "CBS This Morning," Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., said he felt “a great deal of anger and frustration right now" and "the time for inaction is over."

"It does not have to be this way," he said. "There are commonsense gun reform legislation proposals that have been debated in the Congress for far too long.”

Neguse said the gun lobby and others have stopped Congress from making "meaningful reforms in the past but that's no excuse."

"I think the American people are tired of excuses, so it's time for us to roll up our sleeves in the Congress and muster the political willpower to actually get something done,” he said.

Their comments come as the Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a scheduled hearing on gun violence Tuesday, just days after another mass shooting at three Atlanta-area spas left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent.

President Joe Biden addressed the spate of anti-Asian American violence Friday during a trip to Atlanta, calling the "brutality" against them "troubling." The president highlighted the incident as yet another example of how gun violence has become a national public health crisis.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters after the Atlanta shootings that it's "a personal commitment of the president to do more on gun safety, to put more measures in place, to use the power of the presidency to work with Congress.”

Biden supports a pair of bills passed by the House earlier this month that would expand background checks for gun purchases. One measure would require the checks for nearly all gun purchases, including transactions involving unlicensed or private sellers. The other bill aims to close the “Charleston loophole," which allows the sale of firearms to proceed if background checks aren’t completed within three days, by expanding the review period to 10 days.

The bills passed the House in the last Congress as well, but they were not taken up by the then-Senate Republican majority.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has promised to put the bills to a vote, but Democrats would need support from at least 10 Republicans to overcome a filibuster in the evenly divided Senate, which is unlikely for the measures in their current form.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a longtime defender of the filibuster, suggested last week that she would be willing to change the process if it allowed for passage of legislation to address gun violence.

The last time Democrats were close to passing gun control legislation was in 2013 following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, when they held the the House and the Senate and the White House under President Barack Obama.

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., authored a bill that would have required background checks on all commercial gun sales, but the measure fell six votes short of passing.

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