UPDATED: Dems mount filibuster to close gun law loophole; 38 shootings happen during that time


  • photo taken June 12, 2016, by Jeremy Reper
UPDATED: The filibuster lasted 15 hours, and ended when an agreement between Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Minority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nevada, to hold votes on two gun control amendments was announced.

During the 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor, Vox reports, there were 38 shootings that killed 12 people and injured 36 more across the country.

Today Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, referenced the Pulse nightclub shootings in Orlando when he tweeted his intention to filibuster an appropriations bill on the Senate floor.
Democrats hope to add a gun control amendment to the Commerce, Justice and Science spending bill being debated on the floor. They are attempting to force the Senate to address gun legislation, rather than offer up a "moment of silence." In particular, Murphy says he is pushing for two measures: one that would keep anyone on a terror watch list from buying guns (aka "closing the terror gap"), and another that would require background checks for firearm sales online and at gun shows (universal background checks).

"Senator Murphy and Senate Democrats are holding the floor because they will not accept inaction or half measures in the face of continued slaughter. Congress cannot sit on the sidelines while killers freely buy weapons to brutally murder the people Congress is supposed to be protecting," Murphy spokesman Chris Harris said in a statement.

"Until private sales at gun shows and over the internet also require stringent background checks and unless suspected terrorists on the no fly list are prohibited from legally purchasing guns, our lax gun laws will continue to allow terrorists and criminals to amass a weapons stockpile," Harris said. "Senator Murphy will remain on the floor demanding the Senate adopt these measures."

The Republican senators' plan only allows the government to block a gun sale only if it can provide proof that the prospective buyer “has committed, or will commit, an act of terrorism.” When that process is triggered, the Justice Department would have just 72 hours to assemble a case and present probable cause to a judge. If the Department failed to do that, the gun purchase would go through. 

Other Dem senators have stepped in to aid the talking filibuster, including Sens. Richard Bluemnthal (D-Connecticut) Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) and Dick Durbin (D-Illinois). Other Senate Democrats are signing up for time slots to extend the filibuster throughout the evening. Watch democracy in action live at C-Span.

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