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MassLive: Democrats announce federal gun control initiative, US Sen. Ed Markey says Congress can’t wait

SPRINGFIELD — A week after a shooter killed nine people and himself at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, U.S. Senate Democrats announced a new initiative to improve background checks for firearms purchasers and to end the so-called “illegal gun pipeline.”

The plan, which is among a handful various Democrats have announced in the wake of the Oct. 1 shooting, calls for making “straw purchasing” and gun trafficking federal crimes, barring domestic abusers from buying guns and requiring complete background checks on all sales.

Criminals would also be unable to avoid background checks at gun shows and online under the proposal, the caucus said.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., called the measures “common sense steps that are supported by the vast majority of Americans.”

“Democrats are offering bipartisan solutions that can save lives, and we call on Republicans to join us in this effort,” he said. “Of course we won’t be able to stop all gun violence. But, working together, we can pass legislation that can make a real difference. It is simply too important to do nothing.”

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Malden, also renewed his called for action on gun control legislation, saying in a chamber floor speech that “Congress has failed to protect the American people from the tragic gun violence that is plaguing our nation.”

“We have the power here on the floor of the United States Senate to pass legislation that pretty much all of America expects us to pass. It is time to end the NRA’s vice-like control of this chamber,” he said. “The NRA says it’s the National Rifle Association, well our goal should be on this floor to say NRA stands for Not Relevant Anymore in Americans politics.”

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., joined other Senate Democrats in urging Republicans to support the three policy proposals, saying they represent a test for members of Congress on whom they work for – the American people or the NRA.

“Look, let’s be frank, these three steps won’t be enough to stop all handgun violence in our communities, but these are meaningful steps in the right direction,” she stressed in a chamber floor speech.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, meanwhile, expressed support for the Senate Democrats’ plan in an interview this week with WBUR.