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McConnell's Inaction in the Face of Gun Violence Angers Democrats, Progressives Calling for Reform

"I would hope and pray that he understands that he actually has the power to do the right thing here."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gets into an elevator as he leaves his office at the U.S. Capitol, March 25, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gets into an elevator as he leaves his office at the U.S. Capitol, March 25, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

As the nation calls for gun control in the wake of two mass shootings in 14 hours over the weekend, Democrats and activists are taking aim at Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for refusing to take action on the continuing gun violence crisis.

McConnell has refused to move forward on a number of bills from the Democratic Party-controlled House that currently sit on his desk awaiting a Senate vote. 

"This is actually, literally in the hands of one person in terms of this legislative action, and it's Mitch McConnell," said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) on Tuesday. "And I would hope and pray that he understands that he actually has the power to do the right thing here."

Harris, who is running for the party's 2020 presidential nomination, was not the only Democrat going after McConnell, who has become a target for liberals and progressives due to his resistance to forwarding any left-leaning legislation through the upper chamber. 

"Two background check bills have already passed the House," tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), one of Harris' rivals for the 2020 nomination. "The Senate has an opportunity to pass them—but Mitch McConnell refuses to act."

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As journalist Chase Madar pointed out, there's blame to go around for the whole GOP. 

"Most of the country wants gun control, but we are blocked by the Republican Party," said Madar. 

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, called in a letter for the Kentucky Republican to return the Senate to Washington in order to move forward on the legislation. 

"This inaction must stop," wrote Thompson. "We know background checks save lives."

Democrats were frustrated, they said. 

"We passed gun legislation back in February," Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told The Hill. "The Senate has done nothing. We are waiting for them to get serious about the situation."

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