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PopWrapped | Current Events

Democratic Party Launches Gun Control Filibuster

Roxanne Powell | PopWrapped Author

Roxanne Powell

Updated 06/21/2016 9:43am
Democratic Party Launches Gun Control Filibuster | filibuster
Media Courtesy of CSPAN2

Senator Chris Murphy (Dem, Conn) has called for a filibuster concerning gun control in the United States. His motion was quickly joined by other Democratic Senators "in an effort to pressure Republicans to accept legislation that would deny suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms and require universal background checks."

The Senate has already started "debating a spending bill" that Democrats hope can be amended to include gun safety laws.

But Murphy said they cannot move forward with the amendments "until we have figured out a way to come together on, at the very least, two simple ideas.”

“I’m going to remain on this floor until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together on these two measures, that we can get a path forward on addressing this epidemic in a meaningful, bipartisan way,” Murphy continued on the Senate floor on Wednesday, after he first started his filibuster at about 11:20 a.m.

Until he stepped onto the Senate floor, no one knew about Murphy's filibuster plan, according to two senior aides. Senators John Cornyn (Rep, TX) and Dianne Feinstein (Dem, CA) are also "exploring whether there is common ground on a deal to prevent suspected terrorists from buying firearms."

While Republicans and Democrats are "backing very different approaches," according to Politico, there are plans in place that may yet reconcile these views.

Cornyn "dismissed" the Democratic fillibuster during reconciliation talks on Tuesday as "filling the dead air." Apparently, he believes the Democratic approach is more "nuanced" than it needs to be, and is confusing to the average consumer. Universal background checks are also shaping up to be "less likely."

"This is a lot more nuanced than some people appreciate," Cornyn said in an interview. "We're trying."

Murphy is a top gun-control advocate, and used his recollection of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre of 2012 to launch his filibuster. This motion was backed by fellow Senate Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Cory Brooker, with more expected the join as the day goes on.

Funny enough, Wednesday's negotiations occur on the same day "presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump was scheduled to meet with the National Rifle Association."

The Senate Republicans firmly believe in their plan to allow a judge the power to "arbitrate people who mistakenly end up on the terrorism watch list and want to buy guns," a plan "formally backed" by the NRA. On the other hand, Senate Democrats would rather give that same power to members of the Justice Department.

Both bills have already been downvoted by the Senate as of December 2015.

"If an investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist. At the same time, due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watchlist to be removed," said Chris Cox, the executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action.

With the NRA's support, many Republicans have taken the opportunity to "dig in" behind Senator Cornyn's proposal. This has made it harder for the Senate as a whole to reach an agreement that will work for both parties.

"My hope is we will grow our vote," Cornyn said. "We all agree that known or suspected terrorists should not buy guns. The only question is whether it's going to be done in a constitutional way."

Murphy's filibuster has caused quite a stir among members of both parties, even those not immediately on the Senate floor. Members of the House of Representatives came to watch the Senate meeting and saw how things would unfold. Representative Elizabeth Esty even brought Murphy a care package of Diet Mountain Dew, Doritos, and foot cushions.

"Explain to me what the 'terrorist watchlist' is. I'm familiar with the terrorist screening database. There are a series of lists that fall from the database. But I don't think there's any such thing as 'the terrorist watchlist,'" Senator Ben Sasse said, coming out onto the Senate floor to oppose Murphy.

The Democratic party has been trying to pass stricter gun-control laws for a long time, renewing their efforts after the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Rep, KY) has yet to file a decision on the bill.

Read the full story on Politico.

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