The top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Sunday to call an emergency session to put a House-passed bill on universal background checks up for debate and a vote "immediately."
There have been more than 250 mass shootings in the United States so far this year. Shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio on Saturday and Sunday left 29 dead. Nine of the those killed were shot in Ohio, which is represented by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. He said responding with thoughts and prayers isn't enough and stronger gun safety laws are needed.
"The House of Representatives has passed a bill to do background checks overwhelmingly, bipartisanly. I've called on Senator McConnell to bring the Senate back into session," Brown said. "We can pass that in one afternoon, background checks. The president of the United States can sign it that day."
The House of Representatives passed a background check bill in February. Schumer wants it passed in the Senate.
"People just can't understand why Congress doesn't act," Schumer said. "People just can't understand that we have things that we can do that will greatly lessen the loss of life and Congress is paralyzed. People continue to suffer and we suffer."
Schumer said there are "too many guns" that are "too available" to "too many people."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.