Senate Fails To Pass Series Of Gun Control Measures

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Senators were unable to pass a series of gun control measures on Monday because of a lack of bipartisan support. This is the latest in a series of failed attempts by US lawmakers to put tighter firearms measures in place, reports CNN.

Coming on the heels of Orlando – the worst mass shooting in recent American history – senators from both the Democratic and Republican sides introduced proposals meant to strengthen background checks on prospective gun buyers and prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing weapons.

However, the ongoing election and arguments over the effectiveness of each party’s measure resulted in maintaining the gridlock that has surrounded issues on gun control for years.

The results did not come as a surprise to most. Another option is set to be introduced by Republican Sen. Susan Collins, to be voted on by Tuesday. While this latest measure is more hopeful, it still faces bleak prospects at being passed.

Democrat Sen. Chris Murphy, sponsor of one of the failed measures to broaden background checks, was incensed at his defeat. “I’m mortified by today’s vote but I’m not surprised by it,” he said. “The NRA has a vice-like grip on this place.”

Murphy went on to predict widespread voter outrage in November’s congressional elections, citing a new CNN/ORC survey that shows a large number of Americans from both parties supporting a firearms ban for people on terror watch lists.

Just before the vote, Murphy had told the Washington Post, “We’ve got to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS.”

Both bills went down in succession based on party line votes. The 60-vote ceiling required for a bill to pass prevented even the Republicans, who are the majority, from pushing their agenda forward.

The Senate failed to pass a Republican proposal to update background checks for customers purchasing guns, which would have meant adding more information on mental health records to national databases. The measure also included a clause to inform law enforcement agencies when someone who has been on a terror watch list in the last five years buys a gun.

Sponsored by GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley, the proposal failed to pass in a 53-47 vote. Democrats cautioned that the proposal’s definition of mental incapability would still allow those who have psychological problems to legally buy firearms.

The second measure was to expand background checks for prospective customers, requiring gun shows and online retailers to conduct such checks. It likewise failed on a 44-56 vote. Murphy was the sponsor for this proposal.

A third measure was a Republican proposal to pause gun sales for individuals on the government’s terror watch list. It failed on a 53-47 vote. Sponsored by GOP Sen. John Cornyn, the bill would have allowed a judge to prohibit sales if an individual was found to have probable cause in terrorist involvement.

The last proposal, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, proposed to ban all gun sales to people on the terror watch list, failed on a 47-53 vote. Feinstein’s measure was originally introduced in December last year after a shooting in San Bernardino, and has received support from Republicans, as well.

Both gun advocates and supporters of tighter gun control measures sought to rally people to their sides. The NRA, which has a powerful grip on Republicans and some Democrats, wrote that its members were being blamed for the Orlando tragedy, and that lawmakers were using the incident to push their own agendas. Democratic Leader Sen. Harry Reid, on the other hand, criticized Republicans for not throwing their weight behind the Democrats’ plans, citing the need for the NRA to stay happy.

Collins, who has crafted yet another measure, seeks to bar people on the government’s no-fly list – a smaller group compared to the terror watch list – from buying guns. The measure also set provisions in to protect individuals who have been wrongly placed on the list. Collins’ proposal has yet to win over more support from the Democratic side, however.

Should Collins’ measure pass in the Senate, it faces yet another challenge in the House. House Speaker Paul Ryan has already said that the proposal in unlikely to pass in the House, where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a huge margin.

On the bright side, the Orlando terror attacks have brought a new momentum in the debate regarding gun control. Americans can be assured that negotiations and discussions on these issues will continue in the next few months.


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