Senate Blocks Four Gun Control Measures Proposed in Wake of Deadly Orlando Attack

A series of gun control measure, the first legislation proposed following the deadly Orlando terrorist attack, failed Monday to garner enough votes in the Senate to move forward.

The first vote was on an amendment by Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa) to expand funding for an already-existing gun background check program, which needed 60 votes to move forward. The final vote was 53 to 47.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (C) (D-NY) speaks during a press conference held by Democratic senators calling for action on gun violence June 16, 2016 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (C) (D-NY) speaks during a press conference held by Democratic senators calling for action on gun violence June 16, 2016 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The second vote was for a measure proposed by Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) to enhance gun background checks and halt the so-called gun show loophole where firearm purchases are not tracked. The final vote for his amendment was 44 to 56.

Additionally, Republican Sen. John Cornyn (Texas) pushed an amendment that would allow the government to delay a firearm sale to a suspected terrorist for 72 hours. However, the measure would require prosecutors to go to court to show probable cause in order to permanently block the sale. Even with the backing of the National Rifle Association, the bill failed in a 53 to 47 vote.

The final measure came from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and would have banned people on a government terrorist watch list or other suspected terrorists from purchasing guns. The Justice Department endorsed the amendment, which failed in a 47 to 53 vote.

The votes come after Murphy filibustered for nearly 15 hours last week, hoping to usher in gun control measures in response to the deadly Orlando terror attack that left 49 dead and dozens more injured. The shooter, Omar Mateen, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during the violent attack.

“It’s hard to believe, but still true, that our Republican colleagues voted to allow suspected terrorists to buy guns,” Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) said after the votes, according to Fox News. “We will keep pushing until they see the light.”

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill were wholly unable to come together on the compromise legislation. Democrats were expected to block two Republican measures, arguing they fall short in controlling gun sales, and Republicans were expected to stop two amendments, claiming they take aim at constitutional rights of gun owners.

According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the best way to prevent attacks like the one in Florida is to defeat radical groups like the Islamic State overseas.

“Look, no one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns or explosives,” he said.

McConnell added that Democrats were using Monday’s votes “as an opportunity to push a partisan agenda or craft the next 30-second campaign ad.” In his view, it was only the GOP that was seeking “real solutions.”

Hours before the measures were shot down, Murphy slammed Republicans for not getting on board with more stringent gun control measures. The senator went so far to say his conservative counterparts had “decided to sell weapons to” the Islamic State.

“We’ve got to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS,” he told the Washington Post Monday. “ISIS has decided that the assault weapon is the new airplane, and Republicans, in refusing to close the terror gap, refusing to pass bans on assault weapons, are allowing these weapons to get in the hands of potential lone-wolf attackers.”

“We’ve got to make this connection and make it in very stark terms,” he added.

Republicans, however, have long argued such measures establish a dangerous slippery slope that could ultimately all together deprive Americans of their Second Amendment right to firearms.

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse (R) took to Twitter Monday evening to respond to Murphy’s comments.

“This isn’t true,” Sasse tweeted in response to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), who shared Murphy’s remarks. “You know this isn’t true. But that probably doesn’t matter for your political purposes.”

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