Sen. Chris Murphy (D., Conn.) struggled Sunday to say definitively if gun control legislation now being proposed by Senate Democrats would have prevented the Orlando terrorist attack or other recent high-profile shootings.
"You specifically are pushing a bill, and have been pushing a bill, and it will be voted on Monday, to close the so-called gun show loophole. Would that have done anything to stop the massacre in Orlando?" Jonathan Karl asked Murphy on ABC’s This Week.
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Karl was referring to an amendment that would require background checks on all sales at gun shows and online.
Murphy initially stuttered before responding, "So, it may have in the sense that if you partner together with the bill that stops terrorists from getting guns—"
"But wait a minute. He didn’t buy those guns at a gun show. And he would have passed the background—he did pass a background check," Karl interjected.
"He did pass a background check, but if the [Sen. Dianne] Feinstein bill was in effect, the FBI could have put him on the list of those who are prohibited from getting guns," Murphy said. "And what if he went into the gun store and was denied? He could have just gone online or to a gun show and bought another one."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) is pushing an amendment that would prevent anyone on terror watch lists from from buying guns. Opponents of the measure argue that many innocent people are mistakenly put on these lists, and law-abiding citizens would have their Second Amendment rights taken away without due process.
"What I’m trying to get at is that every time there’s one of these terrible tragedies, there’s these proposals," Karl said. "Your proposal would have done nothing in the case of Orlando. It would have done nothing to stop the killing in San Bernardino, and in fact, was unrelated to the killing in Newtown. So why are we focusing on things that have nothing to do with the massacres that we are responding [to]?"
"I disagree. I think if this proposal had been [put] into effect, it may have stopped this shooting," Murphy said. "But we can’t get into the trap in which we are forced to defend the proposals simply because it didn’t stop the last tragedy. We should be making our gun laws less full of Swiss cheese holes … This has to be broader than just responding to the tragedy that happened three days ago."
Murphy led Senate Democrats earlier this week on a nearly-15 hour filibuster in which members pushed for stricter gun control legislation in the wake of the Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack on a gay Orlando nightclub last Sunday. The Democrats relinquished the Senate floor early Thursday morning.
A series of gun-related measures will be voted on Monday, including Murphy’s and Feinstein’s amendments.