On Thursday evening, the Republicans were voting on legislation that encompassed their favorite goals: defunding Planned Parenthood and repealing aspects of Obamacare. The Democrats attempted to add some useful amendments to this that would increase background checks when purchasing firearms and prevent suspected terrorists from acquiring guns. (The conservative indifference to our laws which allow individuals on the terrorist watch list to purchase guns is mindboggling: for all their ravings about terrorist threats, apparently they’re more than willing to supply potential terrorists with firearms.)
The Democrats needed 60 votes for the measures to pass; they failed with votes of 45-54 and 47-50.
Some Republican senators did support what should be a bipartisan issue—Senators Mark Kirk (Illinois), Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania), Susan Collins (Maine), and John McCain (Arizona) all voted in favor of expanding background checks.
Other Republican senators also tried to introduce gun legislation proposals. Senator John Coryn of Texas put forth an amendment delaying gun sales to suspected terrorists, while Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa wanted to criminalize gun trafficking and increase mental health funding, as well as funding for prosecuting felons who fail background checks. Neither measures passed.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid opined that it was their duty as public officials and leaders to actually act in response to the brutality: “We are complicit through our inaction. And if we continue to fail to act, we will be complicit today and everyday into the future. We will keep ending up right back here, mourning the innocent victims of San Bernardino or Charleston or Newtown. When the victims turn to us for leadership and help, we will have nothing to show them but empty hands and gestures.”
In more promising news, the White House has stated that President Obama will veto the legislation passed by the Senate concerning Planned Parenthood and Obamacare.
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