History Repeats as Senate Rejects All Post-Orlando Gun Control Measures
Just over a week after 49 people were gunned down in Orlando, four measures to enact stricter gun laws were voted down in the Senate
In a failure reminiscent of previous attempts to tighten gun laws following a mass shooting, the U.S. Senate on Monday night roundly rejected four measures to enact stricter gun control laws in the wake of last week's massacre in Orlando, Florida.
"Democrats and Republicans had put forth competing amendments to both strengthen background checks and prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms," as the Guardian reported. "But all four bills fell short of the 60 votes needed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate, in a near replica of a vote held in December when a pair of shooters killed 14 people and wounded 22 more in San Bernardino, California."
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.) decried the vote in a Tweet:
Ashamed & disgusted that the Senate works for the @NRA & not the majority of Americans who support basic solutions to stop gun violence.
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) June 20, 2016
The much-publicized Democratic-led filibuster in the Senate last week, which pushed for measures that critics derided as "not going far enough," resulted in an agreement to vote on new gun control legislation.
The Hill reports that many were pessimistic about the proposals' chances of success from the start:
All four measures—two dealt with background checks and two sought to prevent people on terrorist watchlists from buying guns—were expected to fail.
All four required 60 votes to move forward, and Republicans and Democrats offered dueling amendments on both issues. The National Rifle Association opposed the two Democratic measures.
The climactic vote was on a measure sponsored by Sen. (D-Calif.) that would have prohibited people on terrorist watchlists from buying guns or explosives. It failed 47-53.
Prior to the vote, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) characterized the vote as a "no brainer."
"Frankly, these Democratic amendments are no-brainers," Sanders wrote. "It is incomprehensible to me, and I believe to the vast majority of Americans, as to why Republicans would oppose them."
None of the measures were the ban on assault weapons sales that "so many are calling for," as Common Dreams reported.
Hillary Clinton released a statement that simply read, "Enough," and then proceeded to list the names of the 49 victims of the Orlando shooting, the Hill reported.
"Sen. Feinstein's and Sen. Murphy's proposals are commonsense," Sanders added. "In light of the terrible tragedies that have taken place in Orlando and other cities, it's not very hard to understand that terrorists or potential terrorists, criminals and the dangerously mentally ill should not have access to guns. We have got to do everything we can to stop guns from falling into the hands of people who should not have them."
"What am I going to tell 49 grieving families?" asked Florida Sen. Bill Nelson after the measures were voted down, according to the Guardian. "What I am going to tell the families of those that are still in the hospital fighting for their lives?"