Dems Blast Republicans After Failed Gun Votes
Senate Democrats blasted their Republican colleagues on Monday after they rejected gun control proposals.
“I’m mortified by today’s vote, but I’m not surprised by it,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who lead a 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor last week, told reporters. “We learned in the months of Sandy Hook that the [National Rifle Association] has a vice-like grip on this place.”
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) added that “the NRA won again.”
The Hill reports:
Their comments come after senators rejected a Democratic proposal to expand background checks, as well as a measure from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to block individuals from buying a gun when there is a “reasonable suspicion” they have been or will be involved in a terrorist attack.
Republicans argued both of the Democratic proposals were too broad.
They offered a background check measure from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and a separate amendment from Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to temporarily allow the attorney general to delay the sale of the gun and let a court decide if the sale should be permanently blocked.
Both of the GOP proposals also failed when Democrats — and some Republicans — voted against them.
A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday found that 85 percent of Americans support blocking individuals on the terror watchlist from being able to buy a gun.
More than 90 percent of Americans support requiring a background check on all gun sales to find out if the prospective buyer has been convicted of a felony, according to the same poll.
Democratic senators pointed to the poll Monday evening, arguing that Republicans could face political repercussions for their votes.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said the “political dynamic of the nation has changed” since the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn.
“I don’t think democracy allows for this Congress to be so out of step with the American public for very long,” Murphy added.
GOP Sens. Mark Kirk (Ill.) and Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), who both face difficult reelection bids in states previously carried by Obama, voted for Feinstein’s proposal.
“Unfortunately, where we find ourselves is our typical political football, though. And I believe we should stop playing political football with something so important,” Ayotte said ahead of Monday’s vote.
Ayotte has been working with GOP Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on legislation expected to be rolled out Tuesday.
But Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) singled out Ayotte in the Democratic press conference Monday evening, saying she’s “doing everything but yoga on the Senate floor to justify what she’s doing.”
Kirk also voted against the Grassley and Cornyn proposals, and for Murphy’s background check measure.
The Senate’s fight over gun control comes after the Orlando shooting — where Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured dozens more — sparked a larger debate over tougher gun laws. That fight has spilled over into the 2016 fight, where Republicans are defending 24 Senate seats.
Katie McGinty, who is hoping to unseat Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), has repeatedly called on Toomey to support the Democratic proposals.
“Today was our chance to find out which members of the Senate are serious about actually doing something to stop gun violence and which members aren’t. Pat Toomey’s votes today show that he is long on rhetoric but short on action,” she said in a statement Monday evening.
Toomey has offered his own gun control proposal in the wake of the Florida shooting, and said Monday that either his measure or a forthcoming bill from Collins should be allowed to have a vote.
Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat running against Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), also called Monday’s votes “another tragic example of how [Portman] is pushing the agenda of his rich and powerful friends and the Washington power brokers he serves.”
Both Portman and Toomey voted for the Cornyn and Grassley amendments.
Photo credit: The Federalist.