comscore Congress stalemated on guns despite shooting, filibuster | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Congress stalemated on guns despite shooting, filibuster

  • This frame grab provided by C-SPAN shows Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. speaking on the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, where he launched a filibuster demanding a vote on gun control measures. The move came three days after people were killed in a mass shooting in Orlando. (Senate Television via AP)

WASHINGTON » The slaughter in Florida and an attention-grabbing filibuster in the Senate did little to break the election-year stalemate in Congress over guns today, with both sides unwilling to budge and Republicans standing firm against any new legislation opposed by the National Rifle Association.

Democrats renewed their call to action after Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., held the floor along with colleagues in a nearly 15-hour filibuster that lasted into the early hours Thursday.

“We can’t just wait, we have to make something happen,” said Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., at an emotional news conference where Democrats joined family members of people killed in recent mass shootings. “These are people bound by brutality, and their numbers are growing.”

But Republicans were coolly dismissive of Democrats’ demands. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., derided Murphy’s filibuster as a “campaign talk-a-thon” that did nothing but delay potential votes.

Noting that a few Democrats had skipped a classified briefing on the Florida nightclub shooting to participate in the filibuster, McConnell chided: “It’s hard to think of a clearer contrast for serious work for solutions on the one hand, and endless partisan campaigning on the other.”

Democrats spoke of the need for new gun legislation. Republicans cited the threat posed by the Islamic State group, to which Orlando gunman Omar Mateen swore allegiance while killing 49 people in a gay nightclub early Sunday. But the two sides mostly talked past each other, and efforts to forge consensus quickly sputtered out. As a result, the Senate faced the prospect of taking dueling votes beginning Monday on Democratic and GOP bills, all of which looked destined to fail.

The back-and-forth came as President Barack Obama visited the victims’ families in Orlando, and called on lawmakers to act.

“Those who defend the easy accessibility of assault weapons should meet these families and explain why that makes sense,” Obama said.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joined Senate Democrats’ call for action. Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump weighed in with a tweet suggesting he would meet with the NRA and support efforts to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists. Exactly what he would support was unclear.

It’s the same exercise the Senate has engaged in time and again after mass shootings. Even after the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings of schoolchildren, the Senate could not pass a bipartisan background checks bill. Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine criticized the state of affairs as “Groundhog Day.”

After the shooting in San Bernardino, California, last year, the effort was downgraded to trying to pass a bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to keep people on a government terrorism watch list or other suspected terrorists from buying guns, but that too failed.

This time, Feinstein is seeking a revote on her bill. Republicans will offer an alternative by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, that would allow the government to delay a gun sale to a suspected terrorist for 72 hours, but require prosecutors to go to court to show probable cause to block the sale permanently.

Votes were also expected on dueling background check bills. All were expected to fail.

Collins said she was working with other Republicans, as well as talking to Democrats, on a bill that would prevent people on the no-fly list — a smaller universe than targeted by Democrats — from getting guns. But her bill had not been blessed by GOP leaders and it was unclear if it would get a vote.

Polls show large numbers of Americans agree with the need for at least some limited gun measures such as background checks. But Democrats have been unable to turn the tide of public opinion to their purpose because the NRA is able to mobilize and energize voters who will threaten to vote lawmakers out on the gun issue alone.

This past week, the NRA made robo-calls in Pennsylvania urging people to contact their senators and “express their strong opposition to any new gun control laws.”

In the GOP-controlled House, Republicans had no plans to act on guns and Democrats were unable to force any action, given House rules less favorable to the minority party than in the Senate. Instead the House passed a bundle of previously approved counterterrorism bills and sent them to the Senate again.

“The question is, is going after the Second Amendment how you stop terrorism? No. That’s not how you stop terrorism,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Comments (33)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Leave a Reply

  • Why can’t they fillibuster on abortion control? A child dead by a scalpel is just as dead as a child by a bullet.

    Not saying we shouldn’t keep guns out of hands of terrorists and mentally ill people, I’m just asking why aren’t they trying to save more lives from an avoidable death if they truly are trying to save lives?

    • Who is “they?” The Senate?

      Congress can make no law to overturn the Constitution. Abortion is legal, despite your feelings that it isn’t. It is.

        • No, they can’t. Congress can propose amendments, but it cannot pass them.

          Amending the Constitution requires a vote of the people in a prescribed manner. That will never happen for abortion because women can actually vote now.

          Now, please think again. Who is the imbecile? You aren’t ever correct. Not ever.

        • klastri, I’m not even talking about abortion you imbecile, I’m talking about laws in general. You always fill the comment sections with lies so I’m calling you out on it.

          Get over it and accept the fact that you’re a bitter La Raza racist whom supports and encourages criminal activity by supporting illegals. Do all of us a favor and move to Mexico where the loving Mexican people will welcome you with open arms and will treat you better than the people in the USA. While there you can convince your Mexican La Raza family to allow abortions since they’re illegal in most of Mexican states.

        • dragoninwater – You wrote that Congress can make amendments to the Constitution. That is not true, and you didn’t know what is true.

          You can obfuscate any way you want. I couldn’t care less. Nothing you ever write is true. Not ever.

        • Klastri, always tries to manipulate the facts. If you read any other comments from her in other articles, you’ll see the same pattern of fictitiously made up facts over and over again, then she proceeds to call anyone that disputes her lies as imbeciles and other derogatory remarks.

        • dragoninwater – You just wrote that I’m an imbecile because YOU don’t understand the Constitution. Do what you want. I don’t care.

    • Yes we need big daddy running women’s lives. Women are incapable of running their own lives. Who cares if a fetus is terribly deformed and will not survive. Make the woman bear it. Maybe next time she won’t spread her legs.

      • Exactly. Who do women think they are, trying to make their own decisions? It’s better for their lives to be run by old white men.

        If men got pregnant, there would be an abortion clinic next to every Starbucks.

        • Abortion is illegal in Mexico with the exception of rape or life threatening illness to the female. Since you support illegal Mexicans in the USA and their political views, why are you preaching about abortion rights to the rest of us?

          You should move to Mexico and improve their lives by becoming a political activist to help change their laws to allow abortions there.

        • dragoninwater – You have a bizarre and concerning fixation on racism toward Latinos. You’ve made that clear over and over. You try to involve me in your personality disorder, despite that not being truthful.

          Write whatever you want to write.

      • Yet I’m reasonably comfortable in guessing you’re in favor of banning “assault” rifles, and fully support this democratic proposal linking the TSA “no fly” list to gun control measures. It’s always amusing to me how quickly some folks classify proposed legislation differing from their personal opinions as “big brother” motivated, while simultaneously cheering on legislative efforts in line with their own desires. One of the very reasons I’m becoming more enamored with the Libertarian party’s philosophy, as obviously the saying “none so blind as those that refuse to see” is swelling to epidemic proportions..

  • We just had the 3rd terror attack in the country in ONE year by extreme Muslims and somehow these crazy liberals masterfully turned it to an issue about guns.

    Terrorist will always find away to kill people. Just check any terror attack in Europe since the 70’s, the events of 9/11 and Palestinians terrorists blowing up buses in Israel with homemade bombs in the 90’s.

    This is the most pathetic argument by the Democrats at the worst time ever. Our country is under attack and by extremists and we need to deal with this crap. The barbarians are here. Wake up America!

    • “Murphy is seeking a vote on legislation from Feinstein that would let the government bar sales of guns and explosives to people it suspects of being terrorists.”

      Isn’t this addressing the exact issue you are talking about?

      • You’re missing the big picture here. I’m all for banning the sale of weapons to suspected terrorists but San Bernardino shooter had a friend buy guns for him. The point you’re missing and completely overlooking is the fact that they don’t need guns to take out people. Read my 2nd sentence all over again.

        • I think you might be arguing against yourself. Let’s take the SB shooter you were talking about, if you don’t restrict (or even prohibit) these gun sales, then yes, then how are you going to prevent these actions…that is someone buying for someone else? BTW, this is also a common practice used by criminals to get guns on the street.

          I guess my question is if you feel that bad guys will always find a way, then why should we have any restrictions on anything at all?

        • Also, what are you thoughts on the AR 15 for civilian use? Aurora and Sandy Hook weren’t terrorism (I think), so it seems to be a weapon of choice for terrorists and general mass murderers. So, really, the big picture is much more than what we generally consider terrorism.

        • Smith and Wesson stock up over 8% in after hours trading as they beat earnings estimates. Somebody is still buying guns.

        • advertiser1, I understand you’re always anti-gun. I understand your viewpoint and it probably won’t ever change. While I respect your viewpoint, I think we’ll never agree. You still miss the point that if future potential terrorists can’t get their hands on AR 15s or other guns they’ll resort to far more dangerous methods like bombs which will increase the body count significantly hence my point about re-reading my 2nd sentence. In the EU guns are far harder to get a hold of so terrorists resort to bombs. I can tell you for sure that Timothy McVeigh the Oklahoma bomber whom killed 168 people when he blew up half the building by parking his Ryder moving truck next to a federal building knew that using guns would not do nearly as much collateral damage than a truck filled with fertilizer. In a way allowing potential future terrorists access to AR 15s is preferable to the latter since we all know a determined criminal/terrorist will stop at nothing to kill his/her intended victims as we have learned from 9/11.

      • British lawmaker shot and killed – “stay-leave” campaign stopped for today!

        Won’t be reported in MSM American media because it is yet another example of how futile gun control laws really are. Gun ownership is tightly controlled in England. Like in the recent Paris attack that left 130 dead – yet another country with extreme gun control laws.

        I bring this up because Obama is again blaming access to guns for the Orlando night club mass murder rather than a crazed terrorist. How does he explain the Cox murder and Paris where legal access to guns is tightly controlled?

  • Incredibly bad logic and circular reasoning on this issue by the government and Congress. First, the government controls and administers the data for both the no fly lists and the background check approvals, no new laws from Congress are needed to change the criteria, the bureaucracy just isn’t competent. Second, the number of people on a no fly list who request a background check each year is very small, around 200, it shouldn’t be difficult to screen these carefully, but again you need a competent bureaucracy. Finally, as to the Orlando shooter, none of these proposed laws would’ve stopped him from purchasing a weapon because he was taken off the no fly list after the FBI declined to continue investigating him in 2014 and he was employed by a large security company which gave him firearms training and security officer clearance.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up