Following the terrorist attack in Orlando, Democrats and liberal media attempted to use the tragedy to advance gun control. Senate Democrats held a 15-hour filibuster to bring gun control bills to a vote. Republicans allowed the bills to come to the floor but the outcome was pretty much known in advance. There were four bills addressing the topic of access to guns and all of them failed. Nothing was accomplished. Below is a summary of what was voted on:
- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) sponsored a bill to add funding to the FBI’s existing National Criminal Instant Background Check System (NICS). It failed by a vote of 53 to 47, needing 60 votes to pass.
- Sen. Chris Murphy (D) sponsored a bill to close the so-called "gun show loophole." It would expanded the requirement to do a background check to individuals who sell guns to each others. That failed by 44 to 56.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) sponsored a bill that would block gun purchases for buyers who show up on some government no-fly list or other watchlist. It failed by a voter 47 to 53. In my view this was the most dangerous of the bills. With no accountability, the government could put your name on a list and take away your 2nd amendment rights. Names are put on list in secret and you are not even notified your name is on a list. This bill essentially denied due process and would be a great tool to abuse. The American Civil Liberties Union has long complained about the credibility of the FBI database and argued that individuals such as former Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, were at one time on the watch list. The ACLU also said the database is “unconstitutionally vague, and innocent people are blacklisted without a fair process to correct government error.” Some people end up on the watchlist simply because they make an error and attempt to use and expired credit card to buy an airline ticket. It is a total mystery why some people end up on the watchlist. In December 2014, there were 80,0000 people on the consolidated watchlist.
- Sen. John Cornyn (R) had a bill that would delay a gun purchase when a buyer's name showed up on a watchlist. There would be a three day waiting period during which time prosecutors could make a case to a judge that the person is an actual threat and the purchase should be delayed until the government conducts an investigation. Should a judge find probable cause to detain the person, the person could be detained. This seems like a reasonable bill. It preserves due process and actually requires that the person attempting to purchase the gun be investigated and calls his attempted purchase to the attention of the government, while all the Feinstein bill would do is simply stop the purchase. The Fenstein bill would not trigger an investigation. Unfortunately this bill also failed by a vote of 53 to 47. It needed 60 votes to pass. Several noted conservatives such as Ted Cruz voted for this measure
Republicans voting in opposition. For more on this issue see this link, this link, this link, and this link.