WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Charles Schumer says requiring universal background checks is something that could pass Congress despite political opposition to gun control.
Schumer, a New York Democrat, says he'd like to see an assault weapons ban pass, too. But he says passing gun control measures is not easy.
Because enforcing background checks on all gun purchases doesn't change the rules on who can own guns, Schumer says he sees it as "a way to come to the middle and get something real done." Right now, advocates say some 40 percent of gun sales occur without background checks, such as those at gun shows.
Schumer spoke to reporters at the Capitol Monday. Vice President Joe Biden is expected to endorse universal background checks in recommendations Tuesday to President Barack Obama.
On Sunday, Schumer released a letter he sent to major retailers asking for a voluntary moratorium on gun sales while Congress discusses gun regulation legislation.
On the eve of the Biden announcement, Schumer is nto alone, among Democrats advancing gun control plans. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Maryland Gov. Martin O Malley on Monday calling for federal gun control reforms.
Bloomberg outlined his proposals Monday at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health at a summit on reducing gun violence.
The two-day summit began exactly one month after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Twenty first-graders and six adults were killed.
Bloomberg is urging President Barack Obama and Congress to increase background check requirements for firearms purchases.
He also says the federal government needs to get tougher on gun trafficking. Bloomberg says the federal government must also limit assault weapons and magazines with more than 10 rounds.
Democratic Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley also outlined some reforms he plans to seek in Maryland. They include banning assault weapons and tougher licensing requirements.