The U.S. Senate voted down four controversial firearm-related bills on Monday, including two proposed by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut), as well as two more moderate bills from Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Cornyn (R-Texas). The Republican-proposed bills would have required a delay on gun sales to those on the terrorist watch list, notify law enforcement when someone on the list attempts to purchase a firearm, as well updating the national background check system with more information on mental health records. The more contentious Democrat-proposed bills called for expanding the background check system and outright banning those on government watch lists from purchasing firearms. All four bills failed to pass the 60-vote threshold that was needed to move further in the senate.
The bills were spurred on by the recent nightclub shooting in Orlando, which created support for further gun control legislation. However, experts say they expected the bills to fail, and Monday’s vote appeared to be no surprise.
“Well, here we go again. Another mass shooting—this time the largest in history,” Senator Feinstein said in a press release. “Forty-nine dead, 53 injured. Another chance for Congress to take meaningful action. Another missed opportunity.”
Senator Murphy, however, was more optimistic about the vote. While he shared Senator Feinstein’s disappointment in the vote’s results, he added that millions of Americans made their voices heard once again.
“The fact is Americans want a background check system that prevents dangerous people and terrorists from getting their hands on guns,” he said. “It will take time, but I firmly believe that our democracy does not allow a Congress to be this far out-of-step with the views and values of the people for very long. This country is rising up to demand stronger, safer gun laws, and in the fact of unspeakable tragedy, our movement for change got stronger this week.”
However, gun rights advocates lauded Monday’s vote, with some calling it a final push by the Obama administration to attack the Second Amendment.
“Today, the American people witnessed an embarrassing display in the United States Senate. President Obama and his allies proved they are more interested in playing politics than addressing their failure to keep Americans safe from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism,” said Chris Cox of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.
“We all agree that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms,” Cox continued. “We should all agree that law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a secret government list should not be denied their constitutional right to due process. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. It is shocking that the safety of the American people is taking a backseat to political theatre.”
The voting on the four bills were mostly by party lines, with the two Republican-backed bills being voted down by Democrats.