WASHINGTON – A little over one week after 49 Americans were shot to death in an Orlando nightclub, in the worst mass shooting in United States history we witnessed the power of the National Rifle Association’s lobbing power. They were able to stop four bills from passing that despite a new national poll taken by CNN after the shooting in Orlando that shows 92 percent of Americans support expanded background checks and 85 percent support preventing those on terror watch lists from buying guns.
Monday evening as the U.S. Senate voted on four different gun control amendments — two offered by Republicans, two by Democrats — a week after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
The bills that were under consideration:
A Republican measure to increase funds for the federal FBI background check system that would force states to send more information on felons and those with mental health issues to the national database
A Democratic measure sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy to expand background check requirements, including for private gun transactions, leaving fewer loopholes for gun shows
A Republican measure to delay the sale of guns to those on terror watch lists for 72 hours, at which point court action would be required to block the sale permanently.
A Democratic measure banning the sale of guns to all suspected terrorists
All four were expected to fail, and did as the first failed 53-47; the second failed 44-56; the third failed 53-47; the fourth failed 47-53.
The deadlock was split predictably between Democrats and Republicans, on amendments that would block people who are the federal terrorism watch list from being able to buy guns. The proposed changes would have also closed loopholes in background check laws.
“Our constituents see a disturbing pattern of inaction,” Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, said on the Senate floor on Monday. “Sadly, our efforts are blocked by the Republican Congress, who take their marching orders from the National Rifle Association.”
If all of this sounds in anyway familiar the Senate took almost the exact same votes in December after the San Bernardino, Calif., attacks. Those votes failed — along party lines, with Republicans supporting looser versions of gun control proposals and Democrats supporting stricter versions.
The NRA is such a powerful lobby that members of Congress and the Senate simply will not cross them for fear of having them go after them come election season. While the four bills that didn’t pass were focused on the what is considered the easiest possible gun legislation that could be passed.
The CNN poll showed that the citizens of the United States are willing to go much further than their elected representatives on curbing gun violence.
Here is are some of the questions and answers that the poll produced.
|“Please tell me whether you would generally favor or oppose each of the following proposals which some people have made to reduce the amount of gun violence. …”|
|“A background check on anyone attempting to purchase a gun in order to determine whether the prospective buyer has been convicted of a felony.”|
|“A ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of semi-automatic assault guns, such as the AK-47.”|
|“A ban on the sale and possession of equipment known as high-capacity or extended ammunition clips, which allow some guns to shoot more than 10 bullets before they need to be reloaded.”|
|“Preventing certain people, such as convicted felons or people with mental health problems, from owning guns.”|
|“Preventing people who are on the U.S. government’s Terrorist Watchlist or no-fly list from owning guns.”|
|“Preventing all Americans from owning guns.”|