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Steve Cohen Blames Gun Control Stall On Trump, House Judiciary Republicans

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor

Democratic Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen attacked President Donald Trump and House Judiciary Republicans, blaming them for stalls in enacting gun control in the wake of two more mass shootings.

Cohen told host Jim Sciutto on a Tuesday segment of “CNN Newsroom” that he didn’t expect much from upcoming hearings on gun control, saying that Trump would listen to the NRA and that Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee weren’t likely to be “independent thinkers” on the topic. (RELATED: ‘Bring Him In’: Steve Cohen Calls For Sergeant At Arms To Force Barr To Testify)

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“We’re going to have a hearing on September 4 to deal with — more extensive background checks than the bill we’ve already passed that’s sitting in the Senate,” Cohen began. “Also to deal with high capacity magazines and also the red flag laws … We’ll pass them out of the committee and we’ll have to argue with the Republicans. There won’t be much support there. There may be some for background checks. I don’t know.”

Cohen then claimed that the NRA’s opposition to additional background checks and red flag laws would drive President Trump’s actions on the subject, saying, “The NRA is against it all and so Trump will be against it. I think back to the hearing he had on the Parkland shooting with the White House and he acted so concerned and interested and how incredulous he was that 19-year-olds could buy those weapons. And he did nothing. It’s criminal to use those victims as a prop, to act like he cares, and then not to do it.”

The Tennessee Democrat concluded by taking a swing at his Republican colleagues on the House Judiciary Committee, suggesting that their opposition to gun control — and specifically a ban on “assault weapons” or high-capacity magazines was due to an inability to think independently.

“There hasn’t been any movement that I’m aware of,” Cohen explained. “There are a couple of independent-thinking Republicans, but there are not many, and I don’t think they exist on our committee. So it’s just an unfortunate circumstance. We need to ban assault weapons, too, but that’s a problem in defining the AR-15, the AK-47, exactly what it is. I think they did it in the Brady Bill and eventually we’ll get to that, too.”