One week ago, 49 people were murdered when a lone gunman opened fire in Orlando, Florida’s Pulse nightclub. To date, it is the deadliest shooting in our country’s history. And today, in the wake of this massacre, the United States Senate blocked four different proposals to implement stricter gun control laws.
The voting session was catalyzed by the 14 hour filibuster initiated by Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy on Wednesday, June 15. But as the Washington Post reports, the measures Murphy proposed, together with Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), were among the ones shot down today.
Both Republicans and Democrats drew up the potential gun control regulations that were put to a vote. However, the voting was split almost wholly along party lines, with Republicans contesting more rigorous control over gun purchasing.
Democrats point to the National Rifle Association’s influence over the Republican party as an underpinning explanation for this outcome.
“Senate Republicans ought to be embarrassed, but they’re not, because the NRA is happy,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tells the Post.
Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the Senate Majority Leader, levies accusations against the Democrats of promoting a “partisan agenda.”
Proposals require 60 votes in order to move forward. Two of the four fell just seven shy, with 53 votes.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a measure that would prevent any suspected terrorist from purchasing firearms or explosives. Only two Republicans voted in favor of the proposal, and only one Democrat contested it. Texas Republican John Cornyn suggested a more lax alternative that would enforce delays of three days or longer on gun sales if a judge “ruled during that time that there is probable cause to deny the firearm outright.” This proposal also did not procure the necessary votes.
The legislation Murphy and his co-writers introduced would have require background checks for everyone seeking to purchase a firearm, whether at a store, a gun show, or online. It was rejected, 44 to 56.
Also rejected was a proposal from Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to maintain current background check protocol, but to increase government funding for them. Although most Republicans voted in favor of the measure, Democrats argued that it would enable those committed involuntarily to psychiatric institutions to purchase firearms after their release.
The Obama administration voiced its support Monday of the proposals brought forward by Feinstein and by Murphy-Booker-Schumer. Later that evening, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton tweeted the names of the Orlando shooting victims in evident condemnation of the voting results.
The United States Senate last voted on intensified gun control measures in December 2015, after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California by Islamic State sympathizers. All proposals—earlier versions of the ones brought forth today—were rejected.
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