Democrats in Congress are insisting that Wednesday’s deadly shooting in San Bernardino, California, is a turning point in the gun control debate.
“I think we are reaching a tipping point,” Sen. Chuck Schumer told a group of reporters as he and fellow top Democrats announced they would be forcing votes on two gun amendments attached to an Obamacare repeal bill Thursday afternoon.
“What gives us the right to have moments of silence when we do nothing to act upon the causes of grief?” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi added.
Two suspects in the San Bernardino shooting, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, opened fire at a social services center late Wednesday morning, killing 14 and injuring 21.
Schumer and Pelosi's comments are nearly identical to what they both said months earlier, after previous mass shooting events. But Democrats' efforts to pass gun control measures still face deep opposition from Republicans in Congress.
“We will move this legislation when the groundswell is heard...the American people are crying out for action,” Schumer said, discussing gun safety measures on October 8, a few days after a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon that left ten dead.
“Every time this happens, we have a moment of silence, and then silence reigns,” Pelosi said in a separate press conference that same day.
But Democrats also rejected the notion of doing nothing, which is why Schumer and Pelosi announced they would force votes Thursday afternoon on amendments to close background check loopholes and prohibit individuals on the FBI terrorist watchlist from buying guns.
While Democrats have heightened efforts to put gun control on Congress's agenda after several mass shootings, top Republicans in Congress have increasingly pointed to mental health reform.
"A common theme among many of these mass shootings is a theme of mental illness," House Speaker Paul Ryan said in an interview with CBS "This Morning" early Thursday.
Ryan, who has endorsed a mental health reform bill introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pennsylvania, said he wants to make sure "we don't violate a person's rights" with regards to gun control.
"On this particular issue, we do have a Constitution," he said.
ABC's Ben Siegel contributed to this report.