Senate to Vote on Three Gun Control Amendments

The Senate will vote on at least three gun control-related measures in the wake of the terrorist attack in Orlando, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said Thursday.

The Nevada Democrat said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gave him assurances overnight that Democrats would get votes on two amendments they are asking for — one that would enhance background checks on gun purchases and one that would “close the terror loophole, preventing terrorists from walking into a gun stores and buying all the firearms.”

The Senate will also vote on a Republican-sponsored measure that would give the Justice Department 72 hours to review and intervene on a sale by a suspected terrorist. That bill, along with the proposed gun purchase ban on suspected terrorists, failed to pass in December following the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist attack.

The background check legislation is sponsored by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who led a filibuster Wednesday to draw attention to gun violence, and fellow Democratic Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Chuck Schumer of New York, Reid said. The amendment is similar to a carefully negotiated background check bill by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) that failed to pass in 2013.

The “loophole legislation,” offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) would allow the Justice Department to block gun sales to anyone who has been suspected of terrorism in the past 5 years. It would also provide an avenue for appeal if someone were erroneously denied a gun purchase. Feinstein told reporters she expected the Senate to vote on the provisions, which would be attached to the the Commerce, Justice and Science spending bill, on Tuesday.

“It’s not enough for Republicans to simply let us vote. … Republicans must join us for those measures to pass,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

McConnell, meanwhile, made the case for Democrats to support Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) legislation to create a 72-hour investigation period if a suspected terrorist tries to buy a gun.

“Of course no one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns,” McConnell said, “So if Democrats are actually serious about getting a solution on that issue, not just making a political talking point, they’ll join with us to support Sen. Cornyn’s SHIELD Act.”

McConnell also criticized Democrats, accusing them of grandstanding on the issue and using “the Senate as a campaign studio.”

Both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have talked about other amendments on guns, but negotiations about how and whether they get votes aren’t final.

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