Gun Bills Fail in Senate

Four bills fail largely along party lines

June 20, 2016

The four gun proposals introduced in the wake of the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida, failed to reach the required 60 votes for passage during a Senate vote on Monday.

The proposals were introduced by both Democrats and Republicans.

The Democrats, which forced the votes after a nearly 15-hour filibuster last week, put forth bills that would extend background checks to sales between private individuals in the used gun market and give the attorney general the power to deny those he or she suspects of ties to terrorism the right to purchase a firearm.

The Republicans focused on increasing funding for the FBI background check system and a procedure that would delay gun purchases by those the FBI suspects of terror connections for three days and allow the government to petition a court to block the sale permanently.

Sen. John Cornyn's (R., Texas) plan, which is backed by the National Rifle Association, to delay gun purchases by terror suspects for 72 hours while the FBI investigates the purchaser but requires a legal review before a permanent denial can take place received the most support with 53 votes for and 47 votes against.

Senator Dianne Feinstein's (D., Calif.) alternative, which provides the attorney general the power to block sales of guns to terror suspects without having to file charges, go through a court review, or obtain a conviction against the purchaser, received 47 votes for and 53 votes against it.

Another Democratic proposal, introduced by Chris Murphy (D., Conn.), sought to extend federal background checks to gun sales between private parties. It failed by a vote of 44 to 56.

Sen. Chuck Grassley's (R., Iowa) proposal to increase funding to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System and incentives for states to send more mental health records to the system also failed with 53 votes for and 47 votes against.

It is unlikely that any of the bills would have prevented the Orlando terrorist from obtaining his firearms as he had been removed from the FBI's terror watch list and had passed a FBI background check while obtaining his firearms.