Senate Seemingly Votes Against American Public
90 percent of the American people who were looking for gun reform after the Orlando shootings woke up on Tuesday morning disappointed.
All four amendments that would have given more gun control were defeated by a startling amount. Not only did each fail to get the 60 votes needed but it wasn’t even close.
The first amendment dealing with background checks, it required a background check on all types of gun sales, through the work of Senator Chris Murphy fell 53-47. The second bill, another background check, which would allow an individual the to regain the right to purchase a gun immediately on release from an involuntary psychiatric treatment, also fell 56-44. The third and fourth both dealt with the “terror gap.”
The third one gave the Attorney General the ability to block any gun sales on a reasonable suspicion if a person is supporting an act of terror through engagement, preparation or providing material support. The fourth dealt with giving the accused a chance to present their case in a courtroom on why they should be able to purchase a gun if suspected of terrorist involvement and the Attorney General must prove that they have or will commit an act of terrorism, and it has to be within three business days.
Both of those failed as well with a vote of 53-47 respectively.
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) June 20, 2016
“I’m mortified by today’s vote but I’m not surprised by it,” Murphy said Monday evening. “The NRA has a vice-like grip on this place. I don’t think democracy allows for this Congress to be do out of step with the American public for long.”
Murphy has been one of the more outspoken senators since the Orlando shootings. After holding a 15-hour filibuster to get to this vote, many thought something would change and the polls showed that Americans wanted to see some form of gun control after the Orlando shootings. But with the November elections coming up, this could prove to be costly for Republicans, who are trying to navigate their way out with their presumptive nominee Donald Trump. At least, that’s how Murphy perceives it to be.
“We didn’t get the votes in our favor, but we did get Republicans on record once again standing against 90 percent of their constituents,” Murphy said on MSNBC. “And there will be a price to pay eventually at the electorate.”
Of course, there is some, including Republicans, who feel that the Democrats are using Orlando for political purposes. The NRA, which has given over $30 million to elected officials, was one of the biggest to come out against the votes and they weren’t pleasant about it either.
“We all agree that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms,” executive director Chris Cox wrote to NRA members. “We should all agree that law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a secret government list should not be denied their constitutional right to due process. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. It is shocking that the safety of the American people is taking a backseat to political theatre.”
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) June 20, 2016
There is however a chance that some gun control bills will make it out of the Senate. Senator Susan Collins, a moderate Republican, has a fifth option that has garnered a lot of optimism. It’s a bill that would block people on the “no-fly” list from buying firearms as well as additional screening before boarding a plane. The bill will also include a provision for a look-back, which will alert the FBI if anyone has been on the no-fly list in the last five years buys a gun.
However, this still boils down to both Republicans and Democrats working together. Something Murphy has said hasn’t really gone on much. They’ve had numerous chances to come together on an issue and nothing has worked. The last gun control vote failed back in 2013–with the same voting results too. Since then, the shootings at San Bernardino happened and then the Pulse shooting nearly two weeks ago.
“I mean, they’ve had six months since San Bernardino,” Murphy said, referring to the December massacre in California that left 14 dead. “They didn’t even try to find common ground”
But there are some who think that this time it’s different. After Murphy’s filibuster, and this being an election year, some elected officials feel that Orlando gave momentum on the issue.
“I don’t know that it’s going to be different than when we had votes in the past, but there is one thing that is different. People are starting to talk. There are starting to be negotiations going on. I think that’s very important,” Senator Amy Klobuchar said to CNN.
But will that talk be enough to prevent Monday’s vote from happening again? It all comes down to the political infrastructure, which has been well documented as being in the NRA’s pocket, but come November this could change as Murphy mentioned.
“Ultimately, the only way that you win this issue is by building a political infrastructure around the country that rivals that of the gun lobby,” Murphy told ABC’s Jon Karl on Sunday.
The political infrastructure may see a change come November but the NRA isn’t going to give it up without a fight.
“We’re going to use that money to get out and communicate with gun owners across this country and … let them know what’s at stake in this election,” Cox said in an interview to ABC News.
Whether or not Collins’ bill survives the process is still up in the air. But the real question is how much more is the American public going to take before enough is enough.
“I don’t think democracy allows for this Congress to be do out of step with the American public for long,” Murphy said.