Rep. Tim Ryan leads gun control ‘caravan’ to Mitch McConnell's hometown

Presidential candidate is one of hundreds of Democrats calling for McConnell to end recess and address gun violence

Ohio Democratic Rep. and presidential candidate Tim Ryan  is leading a caravan of gun control advocates to the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic presidential candidate and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan is leading a caravan of gun law reform activists 376 miles from his hometown of Niles, Ohio, to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

The caravan, co-led by the gun control group Moms Demand Action, will make its sixth and final stop Thursday at City Plaza next to the Muhammad Ali Center in downtown Louisville for a rally at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s been 150+ days since the House passed 2 comprehensive gun reform bills & Mitch McConnell still has done nothing. That’s unacceptable,” Ryan tweeted on Wednesday, announcing his caravan.

The caravan is stopping in Dayton, Ohio, around noon.

Assailants armed with assault weapons last weekend killed at least 31 people and wounded dozens of others in separate attacks in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, thrusting the mass shooting epidemic in the U.S. back into the political spotlight.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other Democrats have urged McConnell to end the Senate’s August recess, initiate a special session of Congress and take up two pieces of legislation passed in the Democratic-controlled House that would strengthen the federal background check system for weapons sales.

“McConnell has called himself the ‘grim reaper’ and refuses to act on this bipartisan legislation. It is incumbent upon the Senate to come back into session to pass this legislation immediately,” Schumer and Pelosi said in a joint statement earlier this week.

McConnell has given no indication that he intends to change the schedule, which calls for pro forma sessions only with no legislative business until after Labor Day.

The White House indicated in February that President Donald Trump would veto both of the House-passed bills that intend to bolster the federal background check system.

McConnell’s office declined to comment for this story.

The Senate majority leader faced pressure from protesters outside his home on Monday — some of whom made physical threats against the senator — who chanted, rang cowbells, banged pots and pans, and scraped a plastic shovel across the concrete sidewalk as they called for an end to white supremacy and gun violence in their state, WLKY reported.

The Senate majority leader fractured a shoulder after falling outside his home the day before.

Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham incorrectly tweeted on Thursday that Ryan was stirring up “more threats” to McConnell by sending out “calls for surrounding Sen Majority Leaders house.”

“This is not true. The rally is NOT at Mitch McConnell’s house, it’s at City Plaza next to the Muhammed Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, KY," Ryan tweeted at Ingraham.

“Next time, @ me if you want to spew falsehoods.”

By publication of this story, Ingraham had not corrected her initial tweet.

Emily Kopp contributed to this report.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone.