Four gun-control bills failed to clear the Senate Monday, falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed to pass the upper house.
The bills were put forth in response to the mass killing in Orlando, Florida, last week that left 50 people dead (including the shooter) and another 53 wounded.
Coming from both sides of the aisle, two from the Democrats and two from the Republicans, the bills mainly addressed background checks for private buyers and gun sales for those on the terrorist watchlist.
Here is a breakdown:
- Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) put forth an amendment that would require universal background checks for all gun sales, including those between private buyers and sellers made over the Internet and at gun shows.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) put forth an amendment that would prohibit the sale of firearms and explosives for those on the terrorist watchlist. She introduced a similar version of the bill back in December, following the mass killing in San Bernardino, CA. It also failed to clear the Senate.
- Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) put forth an amendment that would increase funding for NICS, the FBI’s system for running background checks on prospective gun purchasers, to ensure the information is up to date and accurate. The bill would also seek to clarify language regarding the mental health disqualifications for gun purchasers.
- Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) put forth an amendment that would give the government the power to deny the sale of a firearm to a suspected terrorist for a period of 72 hours after which time prosecutors would have to go to court to show probable cause on why the sale should be blocked, permanently. This bill was backed by the NRA. It also failed to clear the Senate in December.
Undoubtedly, the gridlock was frustrating for both sides. It didn’t take long for advocacy groups to weigh in on the matter. Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, voiced his ire.
“Shame on every single senator who voted against these life-saving amendments and protected the rights of terrorists and other dangerous people to buy guns,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Chris Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), accused Democrats of “playing politics” and failing to address the “threat of radical Islamic terrorism.”
“We all agree that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms. We should all agree that law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a secret government list should not be denied their constitutional right to due process. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. It is shocking that the safety of the American people is taking a backseat to political theatre,” said Cox.
“We thank the majority of the senators for rejecting the gun control proposals of Senators Feinstein and Murphy. We applaud Senators Cornyn and Grassley for securing majorities for their common-sense proposals. We look forward to working with those interested in real solutions to keep the American people safe, including their right to defend themselves in the face of government failure,” he concluded.
Bottom line: nothing’s changed.