Former McConnell strategist privately urging Majority Leader to take up gun legislation: report
Mitch McConnell (C-SPAN/screen grab)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is facing unprecedented pressure to take up gun control legislation in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio — including from some of his own longtime allies.

On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that Scott Jennings, a longtime Republican strategist who has worked both with McConnell and President Donald Trump and frequently appears on CNN to defend the president, is urging McConnell to bring gun legislation up for a vote.

"This will fly if the president can get behind a package that he can sign into law," Jennings told the Times. "It's for the president to define for the Republican Party what direction policy is going to take." He added that it is "vital" Trump discuss ideas with senators "that he feels are consistent with his party's and his own personal values when it comes to guns."

The House passed a bill to strengthen background checks, and added tougher prohibitions on domestic violence suspects from buying guns to the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization, but Senate Republicans have shown no indication of taking up either of those. McConnell has said that he will hold a debate on background checks, but has refused to reconvene the Senate from its recess to do so.