The Senate today considered, and rejected, four bills regarding gun control measures which aim to prevent the criminal massacre that occurred at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, FL from occurring again. These bills are outlined in detail here, as well as their votes.
First, Senator Feinstein (D- California) proposed an amendment to House Resolution 2578, an appropriations bill for the Department of Commerce and the Department of Justice, to authorize the Attorney General to deny requests to transfer a firearm to known or suspected terrorists. That amendment vote resulted in 47 for, and 53 against. So, the DOJ does not have the authority to stop a suspected terrorist from obtaining a firearm. The issue was tabled for a re-vote later.
Second, Senator Cornyn (R-Texas) proposed an amendment to Senator Feinstein’s proposal called SHIELD ( Secure our Homeland from radical Islamists by Enhancing Law enforcement Detection, boy do they love their acronyms). According to Senator Cornyn’s website:
Under the SHIELD Act, if an individual who (1) is a known or suspected terrorist, or (2) has been the appropriate subject of a terrorism investigation within the last five years, attempts to purchase a weapon:
The Attorney General or designee has the authority to delay the transfer of a weapon for up to three (3) business days while relevant law enforcement agencies conduct an investigation.\
Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials are notified immediately so they can monitor the situation.
A U.S. Attorney could permanently block the transfer upon a showing of probable cause before a judge that the individual is involved in terrorism.
Further, the Attorney General or designee then has the authority to immediately take the prospective purchaser into custody if a judge determines there is probable cause that the individual is involved.
This vote passed, but because Senator Feinstein’s proposal failed and was tabled, so was this.
Third, Senator Murphy (D-Connecticut) proposed that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale. That vote was tabled and referred to committee.
Lastly, Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) proposed an amendment to Senator Murphy’s bill which would improve the availability of records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This vote passed, but was moot because Senator Murphy’s proposal did not pass.
Unfortunately, those hoping for some sort of way to get common sense gun reform passed which could keep suspected terrorists from getting their hands on firearms all failed in some form or fashion today. I am an avid supporter of the Second Amendment; however, I am concerned that home-grown terrorists continue to be able to brew their plots domestically without any real legislative action being taken to curb this conduct. Hopefully, the July 5th, 2016 session will be more fruitful.
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