Dems force protest votes on gun control


House Democrats on Tuesday forced protest votes as part of a push to call attention to gun control measures in the aftermath of a series of recent mass shootings.

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) made a motion to adjourn as the House began legislative work for the day on noncontroversial homeland security-related bills.

“Since the House won’t take up legislation to prevent the senseless deaths of 30 people killed today by someone using a gun, I move that the House be adjourned,” Thompson said. 

Democrats in the House and Senate are pushing a measure to ban people on the government’s “no fly” list from buying guns. Before calling for the motion to adjourn, Democrats repeatedly took to the House floor to urge a vote on the bill.

“Seriously? Terror watch list? Buy a gun of your choice whenever you want? We’re better than that,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.).

“Prayers and thoughts are not enough,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who yelled out “Now let’s do something!” after a moment of silence in October for the victims of a shooting at an Oregon community college.

Each of the motions to adjourn made by Democrats failed. Proceedings on the eight homeland security bills, including a measure to tighten the visa waiver program in the aftermath of recent terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., were subsequently delayed for most of the afternoon.

Republicans expressed frustration with the repeated votes forced by Democrats, and argued the proposal might prevent people inadvertently on the “no-fly” list from the right to bear arms.

“These people on the no-fly list have no idea half the time that they’re on it,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.).

“This body ought to be about doing things that make a difference, not doing things for show,” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) added.

Across the Capitol around the same time, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) blocked a Democratic push to pass legislation by unanimous consent to prevent terror suspects from buying guns. The No. 2 Senate Republican suggested Democrats were trying to create a " 'gotcha' moment" for GOP senators running for president or reelection.

Cornyn asked Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) about the possibility of amending the measure so that the government could delay a terror suspect from buying a gun for up to 72 hours while seeking a court order to approve blocking the sale. But Murphy objected to Cornyn’s request.

The Senate last week rejected a similar measure presented as an amendment to an ObamaCare repeal bill.

Thompson introduced a discharge petition Monday as a means of forcing a vote on the measure to prevent terror suspects from buying guns. The underlying bill is authored by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.).

A discharge petition requires 218 signatures to move forward. Democrats would need at least 30 Republicans to join with them — an unlikely outcome, given the deep reluctance among GOP lawmakers for new gun control measures. 

- Updated at 4:26 p.m.