Policy

Senate Democrats Renew Push to Keep Terror Suspects From Buying Guns

Measure would apply to people on consolidated terror watch list

New York Sen. Charles Schumer supports legislation that would make it harder for terrorists to buy guns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are renewing their push to keep people on terrorist watch lists from buying firearms.  

Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York led a conference call Monday along with several Democratic colleagues, including Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat who is in Orlando where a mass shooting at a gay nightclub early Sunday morning killed 50 people including the gunman.

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Schumer said the Commerce Justice Science appropriations bill is one avenue for Democrats to push their legislation barring suspected terrorists from acquiring firearms.

"That’s one possible place to add this bill," he said. "But one way or another, we’re going to push to get the terror gap bill passed."

It's a reprise of an effort that led to a procedural vote last December on an amendment offered by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein . That amendment would have blocked individuals on a consolidated terror watch list from legally purchasing firearms.  

The amendment fell when senators voted 45-54 in favor of a motion to waive the budget rules, short of the 60 votes needed. Illinois GOP Sen. Mark S. Kirk was the only Republican to cross over and vote in support of Feinstein's measure, while Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota was the only member of her caucus to oppose it.  

Multiple Republican aides noted that during last year's debate, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas offered an alternative that would include due process protections. That measure garnered the bipartisan support of 55 senators, which was also short of the 60 votes needed.  

[ Gun Bill Planned in Wake of Orlando Club Shooting ]

On Sunday, Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. Bob Casey said he plans to introduce a bill that would bar someone convicted of hate crimes from purchasing firearms.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton also weighed in Monday, making the connection between fighting terrorism and "common sense gun-safety reform" in an interview with CNN.  

Following the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. History in Orlando, gun issues are once again a topic of conversation from Washington to the campaign trail to the kitchen table. Follow the timeline for a recap of major laws considered by Congress since 1968, as well as relevant U.S. events. Hover over the lines to see what major laws have been considered by Congress since 1968. Hover over the squares for relevant U.S. events.

Bridget Bowman contributed to this report. Contact Lesniewski at nielslesniewski@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter at @nielslesniewski.

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