WASHINGTON -- A gun safety bill with support from both parties should reach the crucial 60-vote hurdle it needs to advance, according to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas.
The proposal, crafted by Cornyn, brings together unusual allies: The National Rifle Association, the pro-gun safety group Everytown for Gun Safety and President Donald Trump.
It would still need approval from the GOP-controlled House before going to the president's desk. The House already passed a version of the bill, attached to a proposal that would allow people with concealed carry permits to take their guns across state lines.
Cornyn's bill penalizes federal agencies that don't accurately share criminal records with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. That system is used to screen people seeking to purchase guns for criminal histories.
Cornyn says his "Fix NICS" bill could have prevented a shooting that left 26 dead in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in November. In that incident, felony records were missing from the shooter's file, allowing him to pass a background check.
"We will save lives in the future by simply making sure the current law is enforced," Cornyn told Texas reporters this week.
Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican and the party's chief vote counter, said his proposal is the only one with enough support to pass a Senate that has long been divided on gun legislation.
"We should start with what's achievable," Cornyn said. "This bill could easily pass the Senate. It's already passed the House. And the president would sign it, as he told me when he called me last Thursday night."
As of Thursday morning, 54 senators had signed on to the bill. The sponsor parties are almost evenly divided -- 26 Republicans, 26 Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats.
Sixty votes are required to cut off debate on most major legislation in the Senate. Republicans currently control 51 seats; Democrats control 49.