Test Vote Shows Lack of Support for Guns Bill

     WASHINGTON (CN) – While a bipartisan proposal that would prevent people on the no-fly list from buying guns survived a procedural vote Thursday, the result shows it has little chance to become law.
     On Thursday afternoon, the U.S. Senate took a procedural vote, called a motion to table, on a bipartisan proposal offered by Sen. Susan Collins, R- Maine, to prevent people on the no-fly list and another security list from buying guns.
     Senators who support the bill eventually becoming law voted no on the motion, while those against the proposal voted yes.
     The proposal survived with a 46-52 vote.
     Collins’ proposal would allow the attorney general to block people on the no-fly list and the selectee list, which tags people for more rigorous inspections, from buying guns. A person denied a gun would then be able to bring the decision before an appeals court, with the burden on the government to prove the denial was proper.
     The appeals court would then have two weeks to reach a decision.
     The proposal also contains a provision that alerts the FBI any time a person who has been on a terror watch list in the last five years tries to purchase a gun.
     While Thursday’s vote means the compromise proposal is not dead, it did not reach the 60-vote threshold required to eventually end debate on the proposal and move forward for an up or down vote.
     Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., ripped the move from Senate Republicans as a “fake vote” and repeated his claims that the National Rifle Association, or NRA, has influenced Republicans to oppose common-sense gun legislation.
     “It was cynical, it was cynical, cynical, cynical,” Schumer told reporters after the vote. “It’s the idea, but now it’s still pending so we want a vote next week.”
     But Sen. John Cornyn, the number two Republican in the Senate, told reporters after the vote he hoped to move on to business other than gun control.
     After the vote ended, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set aside the appropriations bill that the Collins proposal would have been attached to and brought up another bill that includes a $1.1 billion Zika virus funding package, signaling an end to the gun debate in the Senate for the time being.
     But Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the Republicans who backed Collins’ proposal, said he hoped the compromise would get another chance after some changes designed to convince at least eight more senators to join on.
     “We’ll find a compromise because the need is too real,” Graham said.
     Graham suggested a change to the legislation that would give the FBI the ability to pause a gun purchase for a time before going in front of a judge, without alerting the buyer, and asking to permanently deny the purchase.
     If the judge granted the denial, the attorney general would then have to defend it in court following the procedure in the Collins proposal.
     “The only way this movie ends is for people to calm down, go home, chill out and get beat up a little bit,” Graham said. “I’m going to get beat up a little bit, I’m going to get praised a little bit. Then we’ll come back and we’ll realize we’ve got to do something about this.”
     Congress has been consumed with talk of gun control ever since the June 12 massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub that left 49 people dead in the worst mass shooting in the country’s history.
     Last week, Senate Democrats led by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., spent 15 hours on the floor demanding votes on gun-control legislation. The two bills that came out of that vote each contained elements of Collins’ proposal and failed in the Senate on Monday.
     Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., led House Democrats in a similar protest yesterday with a 25-hour sit-in, during which members refused to leave the floor until Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., allowed a gun-control vote.
     But with the Senate unwilling to move to the Collins proposal and House Republicans sending the body on a scheduled recess, the intense focus on gun control seems likely to dissipate without action.
     After leaving the vote Thursday afternoon, Graham grimly suggested lawmakers could be spurred to action not because of a sit-in or filibuster but because “the terrorists are going to fix this problem for us.”
     “I would prefer to solve this before the next terrorist attack,” Graham said. “One’s inevitably coming.”

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