The Senate, as predicted, blocked four gun measures offered after the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Two of the measures were Republican and the other two were Democratic. The two Republican measures suggested an increase in funding for the background check system as well as a proposal for a judicial review process to prevent a person on a terror watch list from buying a gun. The two Democratic measures suggested the process of expanding background checks to private gun sales and a system to allow the Justice Department to ban gun sales to suspected terrorists. All four proposals were blocked due to lack of compromise.
The Senate voted on similar issues in December, after a shooting in San Bernardino, California. This current voting session occurred after Senator Chris Murphy filibustered for almost 15 hours, requesting gun control reform.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican, spoke on the issue, saying that Democrats only use gun control as a political talking point and that the two Republican measures, proposed by Senator John Cornyn, Texas, and Senator Chuck Grassley, Iowa, are “real solutions.”
“Instead of using this as an opportunity to push a partisan agenda or craft the next 30-second campaign ad, colleagues like Sen. Cornyn and Sen. Grassley are pursuing real solutions that can help keep Americans safer from the threat of terrorism.”
Minority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat, stated that he believes the Republican proposals to be “political stunts” which are “meaningless in doing something to stop gun violence.”
“These are amendments to divert attention from real legislation. Why? So Republicans say ‘Hey, look, we tried,’ and all the time their cheerleaders, their bosses at the NRA, are cheering.”
Democrats believe Republicans are out of touch with the American public, citing surveys which show the public wants stronger gun control laws. Omar Mateen legally bought an assault rifle and a handgun before he fatally shot 49 people and wounded 53 people in the gay nightclub, Pulse, located in Orlando. The tragedy has reignited the debate on different types of gun control.
The Senate did not reach a decision on voting on an assault weapons ban. The four proposals blocked on Monday would have been included in amendments to legislation funding the Commerce and Justice departments for the next fiscal year.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic senator representing California, received heavy opposition on her proposal to allow the attorney general to stop sales to suspected terrorists and to allow individuals to appeal to the Department of Justice if they are denied a firearm.
Senator Kelly Ayotte, a Republican representing New Hampshire, appealed to her colleagues for compromise. She has been working on a piece of compromise legislation with some of her fellow Republican senators.
“There is a solution here and I’m committed to finding it, but to find that solution we have to come together instead of having competing proposals that have already mostly failed in this chamber when we took these votes back in December,” she said. “Let’s put aside the gamesmanship and come together to get a proposal that will be effective and get a result for the American people.”