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Four Gun Control Amendments Fail in the Senate

Four Gun Control Amendments Fail in the Senate

A fifth GOP “compromise bill” to be rolled out Tuesday

Four gun control measures—two sponsored by Democrats, two by Republicans—failed in the Senate on Monday.

USA Today provides a brief overview of each amendment (to a DOJ spending bill):

► An amendment by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would allow the attorney general to deny a gun sale to anyone if she has a “reasonable belief” — a lesser standard than “probable cause” — that the buyer was likely to engage in terrorism. The proposal is popularly known as the “no-fly, no-buy” amendment, but wouldn’t just apply to people on the “no fly” terrorist watch list.

► An Republican alternative by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, which would require that law enforcement be alerted when anyone on the terror watch list attempts to buy a weapon from a licensed dealer. If the buyer has been investigated for terrorism within the past five years, the attorney general could block a sale for up to three days while a court reviews the sale.

► An amendment by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, would make it more difficult to add mentally ill people to the background check database, giving people suspected of serious mental illness a process to challenge that determination.

► An amendment by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., that would close the “gun show loophole” by requiring every gun purchaser to undergo a background check, and to expand the background check database.

Real Clear Politics has more on the two Republican proposals and the votes:

The second pair of amendments dealt with preventing terrorists from purchasing guns in the United States, a hot-button issue after the Orlando shooting. While there’s bipartisan support for the broad principle of blocking terrorists from having guns, there’s significant disagreement on the policy details. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced an amendment that would allow the attorney general to block gun sales to any known or suspected terrorists. Republicans argue that the amendment is too broad, has no due process in place and would violate Second Amendment rights of people placed on the watch list accidentally.

That vote failed with 47 yes votes, including those of Republicans Kirk and Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and 53 no votes, including Heitkamp as the lone Democratic dissenter.

Cornyn, the Republican whip, offered a counter-measure that would alert law enforcement when someone on the terror watch list attempted a firearm purchase. It would allow a 72-hour block on the purchase while requiring law enforcement officials to investigate and prove their case to a judge before permanently blocking the sale. Cornyn argued that the measure actually goes further because it would force an investigation of the individual; Democrats counter it would create an extremely difficult standard and time frame and is not a practical solution.

That measure failed with 53 yes votes, including two Democrats [Manchin (D-WV) and Donnelly (D-IN)], and 47 no votes, including three Republicans [Flake (R-AZ), Kirk (R-IL), and Collins (R-ME)]. [inserts via WaPo]

A fifth measure, being drafted by Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), is being touted as a “compromise bill.” reports:

[Ayotte]  said she would vote to advance debate on the so-called “no fly, no buy” issue as a means toward passing a compromise bill she’s drafting with fellow Republican Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine.

“If you’re too dangerous to board a commercial plane, it stands to reason that you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun,” Ayotte said on the Senate floor Monday. “It’s simple as that and people on both sides of the aisle I think agree on that in principle.”

Yet people have been placed on these lists either by mistake, by being misidentified as someone on the list, or for a host of reasons unrelated to Islamic terrorism.  For example, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) was misidentified as someone on the no-fly list, Civil Rights leader John Lewis was also placed on the list, as was Weekly Standard writer Stephen Hayes.  These are the cases that are widely reported because of the high profiles of the people involved; however, we’ve also seen reports of an 18-month-old toddler being on the no-fly list and many other such stories of retirees, 9-month-old babies, among others.

Not only are mistaken identity and “clerical error” problems with the “no fly, no buy” plan, but there is also the problem of the lack of due process involved when depriving someone of their Second Amendment rights.  Collins’ bill, however, includes an appeal process for someone blocked from buying a gun (apparently, that is when they will learn they are on the no-fly or selectee lists).

Boston. com continues:

Collins spokeswoman Annie Clark said the “compromise proposal,” which is expected to be introduced Tuesday, would block the sale of guns to people on two terrorist watch list subsets: the no-fly list, which prohibits individuals from boarding a plane, and the “selectee list,” which requires individuals to undergo additional screening before boarding.

. . . .   According to Clark, the proposal would additionally “provide due process by allowing an individual to appeal a decision blocking his or her purchase of a firearm, and, if successful, to be awarded attorney’s fees.”

Ayotte said Republican Sens. Jeff Flake, of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, had been working with Democrats on the bill. Neither, Ayotte nor Collins’s office named any specific Democrats on Monday.

You can read a version of the DHS report on the no-fly and selectee lists here.  The criteria for placement on both lists is redacted, however, and apparently still secret.


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Just to keep it real, none of these ADDITIONAL laws would have prevented ANY mass shooting.

Not these, and all the other thousands of gun control laws on the books, would have had the least effect in that arena.

But we all know why gun control laws are STILL being proposed.

    snopercod in reply to Ragspierre. | June 21, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Exactly. I’ve given this a lot of thought over many years and concluded that there’s no law that will stop someone with evil intent. The only thing that can be done is to limit the damage and that means “good guys with guns”.

    Gremlin1974 in reply to Ragspierre. | June 21, 2016 at 6:55 pm

    Also, neither of those “lists” require proof of probable cause or due process, before someone is place on the list.

      More importantly, there is NO EFFECTIVE PROCESS to challenge the Government if you are actually put on one of these lists.

      There’s a theoretical process, but it’s not effective because it can use non-public data. If that data is wrong, there is no method AT ALL to challenge that, and you can’t even ~discuss~ the fact that you’re potentially challenging it.

      It’s the “National Security Letter” with attached gag-order on steroids from a few years ago.

    Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | June 21, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I’ll note again that a record of domestic violence would have…I’m pretty sure…precluded the killer here from buying guns under both Florida and federal laws.

    There were failures here, and some of them appear to have been with the family law system. It’s something I see often, where a spouse simply wants out, and the courts let them out without sufficient inquiry.

buckeyeminuteman | June 21, 2016 at 2:47 pm

“As border jumpers won’t obey our current immigration laws, let’s pass new ones for them to ignore. Similarly, since criminals don’t obey current gun laws, let’s pass new ones for them to ignore.”

The best thing the government should do to advance national security and public safety would be to enforce current border security laws and keep dangerous drugs and weapons from coming across our porous borders. Everything they’re doing right now in Congress is simply a bi-partisan circle jerk.

DieJustAsHappy | June 21, 2016 at 2:48 pm

It has been said, I believe, that government doesn’t solve problems. It simply shuffles them around and makes attempts at managing them. This issue is a striking example os such, especially in the repeated attempts to deal with it through reactionary legislation.

The FBI stopped processing NICS denial appeals in January of this year. They’ve returned to them on a very limited basis and as of now, they’re working on appeals received in June 2015.

I personally know someone who received a denial and it took him 4 years and thousands of dollars to get it corrected. Most people who receive an erroneous denial never fight to get it resolved because of the time and money involved.

Until the FBI fixes their system and comes up with a way for citizens to get a timely resolution that puts the burden on the FBI, I’m not in favor of pretending the current system provides due process.

    “…Until the FBI fixes their system and comes up with a way for citizens to get a timely resolution that puts the burden on the FBI..”

    And you wrote that with a straight face.

    It is to the FBI’s advantage to make this system a cesspool of Kafka and INGSOC where anybody they even suspect of looking odd can be tossed in on a whim and nobody can ever get out.

Lois Lerner showed us all what progressive government employees will do to conservatives.

Give a career bureaucrat the ability to (attempt to) deny me my God-given right of self defense? Not only “no” but “FUCK NO!”

Xenomethean | June 21, 2016 at 4:35 pm

To conquer a nation, it must first be disarmed.

Theater votes for the folks back home. It was funny to see some anti gun senators vote against gun control so they can lie about how they believe in the 2A.
Valerie Jarret said today they need to drown out the NRA. I guess the irony is lost on her that one of the oldest civil rights organizations is speaking on behalf of citizens who chip in to be their voice to the wilderness we call govenment.
Maybe she could research Ted Kennedy’s career to learn how to drown the NRA.

All four bills were defeated … yet a Republican still feels the need to come up with a “compromise” bill.

Somebody needs to brush up on game theory. When you’ve already won, compromising is the only way to lose.

    Old0311 in reply to tom swift. | June 21, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    He’s a from up yonder in the northeast.


    What do you EXPECT? A “Republican Senator” from any of those states in Texas would be called a Liberal Democrat, and with good reason. Tis why those with more than half a brain are fleeing the North-East as fast as their budgets can allow.