Senate misses historic opportunity to enact meaningful gun reforms in wake of worst mass shooting in U.S. history
Washington, DC – This evening, the United States Senate defied the will of a large majority of Americans by failing to pass common-sense gun reforms in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
The chamber voted on four pieces of gun-related legislation tonight, two of which would have strengthened gun laws and saved lives. The first, an amendment introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), would have allowed the U.S. Attorney General to prohibit those suspected of terrorist activity from purchasing firearms, while allowing for due process. The second, by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT)—who led an emotional 15-hour filibuster on Thursday calling for the votes—would have required universal background checks on all gun sales, while exempting gifts between immediate family members. Unfortunately, the Feinstein and Murphy amendments were defeated by votes of 53 to 47 and 56 to 44, respectively.
According to national polls, both reforms are widely supported by the American people. A CNN/ORC poll released earlier today found that 92% of American voters support “a background check on anyone attempting to purchase a gun,” with only 8% opposing. The same poll found that 85% of American voters supported “preventing people on the U.S. Government’s Terrorist Watchlist or no-fly list from owning guns,” with only 14% in opposition.
Two substitute amendments introduced by Republicans were also voted down tonight, one by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and the other by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA). Both would have weakened federal gun laws, as opposed to strengthening them.
“We will not be deterred by this Congress’s continued fealty to the National Rifle Association,” said Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Virginia State Director Lori Haas. “The ‘Terror Gap’ and universal background check reforms are incredibly popular reforms and there is a growing national movement coalescing around them. We will push these bills, and others, during the remaining days of this Congress and demand new votes until the House and Senate do their jobs.”
“Eventually, the senators who voted against the Feinstein and Murphy amendments—or for the weak substitute amendments offered by Republicans—are going to have to answer to their constituents for their inaction,” stated CSGV Executive Director Josh Horwitz. “Americans are sick and tired of watching this Congress sit on their hands and do nothing, tragedy after tragedy. It is clear we must change this Congress in November in order to save lives and preserve our most basic freedoms.”