In a move that surprised no one familiar with the current dynamics of the Senate, the group of lawmakers voted down four gun control measures presented yesterday (June 20). This despite the fact that a weekend CNN-ORC International poll found that 92 percent of Americans surveyed support expanded background checks and 85 percent want to prevent people on federal terror watch lists from purchasing guns.
Senate voted on four bills, as described by NPR:
A proposal sponsored by Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, failed on a vote of 53-47, seven votes short of the 60 needed. It would have increased funding for background checks and changed the language barring people with mental health issues from buying a gun.
A measure proposed by Chris Murphy, D-Conn., expanding background checks to the sales of firearms at gun shows and on the Internet failed 44-56, 16 votes short of the 60 needed.
A bill by Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to let the Justice Department bar gun sales to anyone who was on the terrorist watch list in the past five years failed on a vote of 47-53, 13 votes short of the 60 needed.
A bill offered by John Cornyn, R-Texas, failed on a vote of 53-47, seven votes short of the 60 needed. It would have allowed the government to block a gun sale for up to three days pending a court review. The government also would have to show probable cause that the prospective gun buyer was involved in terrorist activities.
The votes were scheduled in response to Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy’s 15-hour filibuster last week, during which he implored his fellow senators to enact new gun control legislation in the aftermath of the shooting at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando. Most of the 49 victims were Latinx. Previous iterations of the proposals has already failed to pass Senate muster back in December 2015, following the San Bernardino shooting.
“I’m disappointed by the results tonight, but far from surprised. We knew breaking the NRA’s stranglehold on this Congress would be a long, uphill climb,” Murphy said in a statement. “The fact is Americans want a background check system that prevents dangerous people and terrorists from getting their hands on guns. It will take time, but I firmly believe that our democracy does not allow a Congress to be this far out-of-step with the views and values of the people for very long.”