U.S. Senators on Monday rejected four partisan gun control measures offered within the week following the Orlando, Fla., shooting massacre at a gay nightclub. The rejected proposals included plans to keep guns out of the hands of people on terror watch lists.
Two Republican proposals were designed to increased funding for the national background check system, according to USA Today, and create a judicial review process to keep a person on a terror watch list from buying a gun. Two Democratic measures would have expanded background checks to private gun sales and allowed the Justice Department to ban gun sales to suspected terrorists. Some of the debates centered around people on no-fly lists versus those on watch lists.
Senators voted down similar bills in December after the shooting rampage in San Bernardino, Calif.
With 54 Republicans and 46 Democrats, and Independents who caucus with them, any successful bid to toughen gun laws would need bipartisan support to get to the 60-vote threshold.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the two GOP-backed measures sponsored by Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, are the answers.
"No one wants a terrorist to be able to buy guns or explosives. No one," McConnell said. "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, D-Nev., called the Republican measures "political stunts" and said they are "meaningless in doing something to stop gun violence."
Ahead of the votes Monday, gun violence survivors made the rounds on Capitol Hill trying to persuade senators to vote for stricter laws, including Erica Lafferty, daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung who was slain in 2012, and Colin Goddard, who was shot four times and survived the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007.
Even if the Senate were to have struck a deal on this subject, it's unclear such a proposal would be able to get through the House, reports The Washington Post, because Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) was non-committal on the issue Thursday.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted last week found that 71 percent of Americans favor at least moderate regulations and restrictions on gun sales. That compared with 60 percent in late 2013 and late 2014.
Senior Senate aides on Monday left open the possibility of other votes later in the week on unspecified gun control proposals.