The Latest: Senate blocks bills on guns, terror suspects

AP News
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Posted: Jun 20, 2016 7:07 PM
The Latest: Senate blocks bills on guns, terror suspects

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Senate votes on gun control legislation (all times Eastern):

7 p.m.

The Senate has blocked a Democratic measure to ban gun sales to suspected terrorists.

The Justice Department had supported the legislation sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California.

The largely party-line vote was 47-53. It fell 13 votes short of the 60 necessary to move forward.

The vote came just over a week after the massacre in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people. The shooter, Omar Mateen, had been the focus of two terror investigations that were dropped. He described himself as an Islamic soldier in a 911 call during the shootings.

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6:45 p.m.

The Senate has blocked a measure that would have denied a gun sale to a known or suspected terrorist — but only if prosecutors could convince a judge within three days that the would-be buyer was involved in terrorism.

The largely party-line vote was 53-47 — seven votes short of the 60 needed to move ahead.

The National Rifle Association supported the measure sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas.

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6:20 p.m.

The Senate has voted to stop legislation that would have closed the gun show loophole and expanded background checks.

The measure was sponsored by Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who waged a nearly 15-hour filibuster last week to push for votes after the massacre in Orlando, Florida.

The vote Monday was 44-56. It fell 16 short of the 60 necessary for the Senate to move ahead on the legislation.

Murphy's proposal would have widely expanded the requirement for background checks, even to many private gun transactions, leaving few loopholes.

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6 p.m.

The Senate has blocked a bill to bolster background checks as votes on gun control got underway in the Senate.

The vote Monday was 53-47 — seven short of the 60 needed for the Senate to move ahead on the Republican-led measure.

The vote was largely along party lines.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley had sponsored the bill to increase money for the background check system. It would have prodded states to send more records to the FBI of felons and others barred from buying guns. The FBI operates the background check system.

Grassley's proposal also would have revamped language prohibiting some people with mental health issues from buying a gun. Democrats claimed that language would roll back current protections.

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4:45 p.m.

A survivor of the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech and the daughter of the principal killed in the 2012 elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, are walking the halls of the Senate to urge reluctant senators to support stronger gun control.

Colin Goddard and Erica Lafferty visited offices and tweeted to senators' constituents just ahead of four gun-related votes in the Senate Monday. The votes are in response to the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people.

Goddard was sitting in French class at Virginia Tech when a student came into the room and started shooting. He says senators are taken aback when he tells them he still has three bullets in his body.

He says he's "not like any other lobbyist."

The two are lobbying for stricter background checks and more restrictions on suspected terrorists buying guns.

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3:45 p.m.

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte says she will support a Democratic amendment to allow the government to ban the sale of guns to suspected terrorists, a reversal after voting against a similar version in December.

Ayotte, who is in a tough re-election race in New Hampshire, says she will vote for the amendment sponsored by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. She'll also back a Republican alternative to delay gun sales to suspected terrorist for 72 hours, but require court action to block the sale permanently.

Ayotte says she is working with Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine on a compromise. That version would prohibit the sale of guns to terrorism suspects who are on the government's no-fly list and allow an appeals process for those who may be mistakenly on the list.

New Hampshire is home to some of the nation's most lenient gun laws, but Ayotte's approval rating fell after she voted against expanding background checks following the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

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2:30 p.m.

A top Republican is rejecting a potential compromise on gun control negotiated by moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said Monday that Collins' proposal is problematic because it would immediately prohibit the sale of guns to people on the government's no fly list — even those mistakenly identified as terrorism suspects. Cornyn says the appeals process in the bill comes too late.

The Senate is voting Monday on an amendment from Cornyn to allow the government to delay a gun sale to a suspected terrorist for 72 hours, but require court action to block the sale permanently. It's unclear if Collins' legislation will get a vote.

Cornyn said that "any time you are denying an American citizen their constitutional rights it ought to be with evidence." He says the "burden ought to be on the government and it ought to come from a court."

A spokeswoman for Collins says the bill has "thorough and robust" protections for those who may mistakenly be on the list.