Gun Bill Voted Down – Senate Opposes Expanding Background Checks For Gun Purchases

The Senate voted down a gun bill that was aimed at making it harder to purchase firearms.

Underscoring the partisan divide over gun control, the Senate voted down rival proposals that would have made it a little harder for people to procure firearms in the country. The rejections come amid rising instances of mass shootings in the U.S., the latest of which has left 14 dead in California.

The 50-48 vote followed the Senate’s defeat on other similar gun control legislations, indicating the continued political gridlock in Washington despite a concerning rise in mass shootings. The gun bill, which advocated extensive background checks for guns purchased online and at gun shows, was co-authored by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Patrick Toomey, R-Pa. Incidentally, the proposal was the same one that was voted down by the Senate in early 2013, mere months after 20 children and six educators were gunned down at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, reported Business Insider. Currently, background checks are mandatory only when a gun is bought from licensed gun dealers.

By 54-45, senators voted down a proposal by Dianne Feinstein a Democratic California senator, that would let the government bar sales to people it suspects of being terrorists, reported Fox News. The proposal sought to “deny people on a federal terrorism watch list the ability to purchase guns.” Though Feinstein had introduced the proposal earlier this year, it received attention only after international terror attacks, which witnessed operatives of ISIS executing innocent civilians with semi-automatic and automatic guns.

Senate also voted down a gun bill proposed by John Cornyn, a Texas Republican. The plan accorded the government the right to delay firearms sales to suspected terrorists for up to 72 hours. The proposal also involved a sub-clause which would allow the government to deny the sale permanently during the waiting period if federal officials managed to persuade a judge to so. Senators voted 55-44 against Cornyn’s proposal.

Republicans argued that the government’s terror watch list is filled with inconsistencies with many people who are erroneously added. Hence, they argued such a list should not be used to deny people the right to procure and own guns. Democrats, on the other hand, suspected Cornyn’s proposal “was a sham,” because any lawyer could easily circumvent the provisions by forcing enough delays to last 72 hours. Once the stipulated time-period was over, the gun purchase could easily proceed.

A similar roll call about gun control in 2013 fell just five votes short of the 60 needed to overcome opponents’ tactics aimed at derailing it in a Democratic-controlled Senate. As expected, the proposal was strongly opposed by the National Rifle Association (NRA). Incidentally, the NRA stepped up its tactics prior to the voting process by emailing its members asking them to contact their respective Senators and, “tell them to vote against any gun control amendments.”

With presidential and congressional elections coming up fast, Democrats were quite hopeful of rallying up support for tighter gun control, especially after rise in number of mass shootings since 2013, reported Chieftain. Democrats were confident that the public was anxious after the Paris attacks, which left 130 dead and subsequent attacks in other countries orchestrated by the terror group ISIS.

Thursday’s vote down, which was mostly party-line, was quite politically significant because the proposal was offered as an amendment to a bill that gutted President Barack Obama’s health care law. It is presumed Obama will surely veto the same.

Obama has consistently supported enhanced gun control. In the U.S. alone, there have been over 351 incidents that involved guns in 344 days. Such statistics are enough to spur a nationwide debate. Following the vote down, American citizens took to social media, calling out to Senators with their stance on the polarizing issue.

[Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images]