Dear Commons Community,
On Monday, the U.S. Senate rejected four measures restricting gun sales after last week’s massacre in an Orlando nightclub where 49 innocent people were killed. The headline above is from the New York Daily News showing the Capital covered in blood. As reported by Reuters:
“Last week’s massacre, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, had intensified pressure on lawmakers, who moved swiftly to take the issue to the Senate floor. But the gun-control measures lost in largely party-line votes that showed the lingering political power in Congress of gun rights defenders and the National Rifle Association.55 PHOTOS
Republicans and their allies in the NRA gun lobby said the Democratic bills were too restrictive and trampled on the constitutional right to bear arms. Democrats attacked the Republicans’ two proposals as too weak and accused them of being in the thrall of the NRA.
“What am I going to tell the community of Orlando?” asked Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida after the votes. “Sadly, what I’m going to tell them is the NRA won again.”
Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, attacked the Democrats’ amendments and thanked Republicans for rejecting them. “Today, the American people witnessed an embarrassing display in the United States,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said the Democratic measures were ineffective and Republican senators “are pursuing real solutions that can help keep Americans safer from the threat of terrorism.”
As the parties remain largely locked in their positions, polls show Americans are increasingly in favor of more restrictions on guns in a country with more than 310 million weapons, about one for every citizen.
Even if the Senate approved a gun compromise, it would also have to be passed by the more conservative, Republican-majority House of Representatives. House Republican leadership aides did not comment on the possibility that any bills proposing gun restrictions would be considered on the House floor this week.
On Monday, all four of the measures to expand background checks on gun buyers and curb gun sales to those on terrorism watch lists – two put forth by Democrats and two by Republicans – fell short of the 60 votes needed for passage in the 100-member chamber.
Gun-control advocates expressed disappointment after the vote and vowed to take revenge on lawmakers at the ballot box in November.
“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,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “The Brady Campaign will expose these politicians for who they really are and call out their failure to disarm hate in America.”