U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey on Tuesday issued a renewed call for the Senate to pass two pieces of bipartisan gun control legislation that he has sponsored.
At a news conference in Philadelphia, the Allentown Republican pushed for action on the Manchin-Toomey background check bill he first introduced six years ago with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Toomey also called for action on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System Notification Act, which would require the FBI to notify state and local law enforcement when someone prohibited from buying a gun tries to do so. Toomey introduced the legislation with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.
The two shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed 31 people over the weekend are building momentum for gun safety legislation in Congress, Toomey said.
He said he wants to keep guns away from those who shouldn’t have them, but opposes an outright ban on what he described as assault weapons because they are popular and "are generally no more powerful, no more lethal" than hunting rifles.
Many mass shooters have used semi-automatic weapons capable of firing numerous rounds in a short period of time. The Dayton shooter fired 41 rounds in less than 30 seconds, according to police.
After speaking with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Toomey said that if Congress is able to compromise on legislation, he doesn't think McConnell "is going to stand in the way." McConnell previously has prevented gun control measures, including Toomey's background check legislation, from floor votes in the Senate.
After last weekend’s shootings, President Donald Trump initiated conversations with both Toomey and Manchin, whose bipartisan bill would expand background checks for internet and gun show purchases.
"I am a gun owner, I am believer in the Second Amendment and I am equally convinced that a background check to determine if someone is disqualified from buying a firearm is not an infringement on the Second Amendment, it's just common sense," Toomey said.
"I don't know if there's something different about these shootings," Toomey said, after mentioning a renewed sense in Congress to pass gun control legislation. "It may just be the accumulated pain of so many of these (shootings)."
There have been 253 mass shootings in America in 2019 as of Aug. 5, according to the national Gun Violence Archive. The Gun Violence Archive classifies a mass shooting as a gun event where four or more people are shot or killed, not including the shooter.