GOP leaders play down need to pass gun reforms

House Speaker Paul Ryan isn't backing any proposed gun measure.

— -- Breaking their silence on the issue, Republican leaders Tuesday played down the need to pass gun reforms.

NICS stands for the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and the proposed fix would be to improve state reporting to the database.

Asked if he feels he's "doing enough," Ryan pointed to a bigger cultural problem.

"That's where we should focus our problem to be solved, which is the people who shouldn't get guns without trying to take away a citizen's rights," Ryan said.

But even with the narrow changes included in this bill, which both parties, and the NRA, support, the measure has become a political football.

Democrats are also reserving the option to block debate. They say the bill is too narrow and want Republicans to commit to debate broader reforms.

Schumer and other lawmakers from both parties met with students from Stoneman Douglas at the Capitol Tuesday, but even with Parkland survivors asking Congress to make schools safer, members of Congress are in broad disagreement on how to proceed.

“They brought a really simple message. It was straight from their heart after what they experienced, they don't want anyone to ever have to experience that again,” said Rep. Ted Deutch, the Florida Democrat who represents Parkland.

“Kids should feel safe in their schools. And we need to figure out a way to take action to help make them safe. That's what's important to them and that's what's important to the country,” Deutch said.

After meeting the students, Rep. Joe Crowley, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, called their message “inspiring.”

“They're here for change. They're here to make a difference,” Crowley, a New York Democrat said. “Just inspiring young people with a message to everyone. Not Democrat, not Republican. They want to see change in the gun laws in this country that would make sense - common sense to help prevent tragedies like this from happening in the future.”

“Their teachers are not law enforcement. They're here to talk about the steps that can be taken - all of the steps that can be taken - to help make the schools safer everywhere,” Deutch emphasized. “They understand that this isn't going to happen all at once. They don't believe that assault weapons, they don't believe the weapons of war should be on our streets, in our communities. They know that's an ongoing debate.”

Republicans also discussed the issue behind closed doors.

Florida Republican Rep. John Rutherford, a former sheriff, said the question of arming teachers should be left to local communities to “decide because it all comes down to how much do you want to spend to protect our children” - though his preference is for law enforcement to provide security.

“Bottom line is when it gets down to protecting those kids in that school, there's only one thing that's going to do that, and that is a police officer there who is willing and ready to respond to protect those kids against an active shooter,” Rutherford said.