© Greg Nash/The Hill
Senators on Tuesday rolled out a bipartisan bill aimed at stopping suspected terrorists from buying a gun, as lawmakers try to overcome a stalemate on the issue.
"Essentially we believe that if you are too dangerous to fly on an airplane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun," Sen. Susan CollinsSusan CollinsOvernight Energy: Lawmakers work toward deal on miners’ benefits Schumer: Senate Russia probe moving too slowly Collins: I'm not working with Freedom Caucus chairman on healthcare MORE (R-Maine) told reporters.
The legislation would allow the attorney general to block the sale of a gun if an individual is on the "no-fly" list or the so-called "selectee" list, which requires additional screening at an airport.
Collins said the two lists affect approximately 109,000 people, most of whom are foreigners.
The legislation would allow the decision to be appealed. If an appeal is successful, Collins said Americans and green card holders could get their attorney fees covered.
The measure also includes a "look back" provision that would notify the FBI when someone who was on the broader terror watchlist in the past five years buys a gun.
In addition to Collins, Republican Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteBottom Line How Gorsuch's confirmation shapes the next Supreme Court battle THE MEMO: Trump set to notch needed win with Gorsuch MORE (N.H.), Jeff FlakeJeff FlakeTrump wall faces skepticism on border No Congress members along Mexico border support funding Trump's wall Obama-linked group launches ads targeting Republicans on immigration MORE (Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamOvernight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record Graham: There are 'no good choices left' with North Korea Graham: North Korea shouldn't underestimate Trump MORE (S.C.) appeared at Tuesday's press conference.
Democratic Sens. Tim KaineTim KaineOvernight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record Kaine, Schiff press Trump on legal justification for Syria strike Democrats thought they could produce a political earthquake in Kansas MORE (Va.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonFCC head unveils plan to roll back net neutrality Overnight Tech: FCC chief poised to unveil plans on net neutrality | Uber eyes flying cars | Media rules under scrutiny Groups urge lawmakers to oppose 'devastating' net neutrality rollback MORE (Fla.), Martin HeinrichMartin HeinrichThe outdoor recreation economy is a force that is here to stay Senate Dems want Trump to release ethics waivers, visitor logs Senate Dems offer bill to restore internet privacy rules MORE (N.M.) and Heidi HeitkampHeidi HeitkampSenators push 'cost-effective' reg reform Battle begins over Wall Street rules Business groups silent on Trump's Ex-Im nominee MORE (N.D.) and Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus KingSenator: No signs of GOP 'slow-walking' Russia investigation Republican Sen. Collins considering run for Maine governor in 2018 Conway: Dems should listen to their constituents on tax reform MORE (Maine), who caucuses with Democrats, also appeared in support of the bill.
The legislation is expected to get a vote, but Collins will need 60 supporters for the provision to through the Senate. Democrats say about 20 GOP senators would need to back the bill to get it past the threshold.
Collins said a vote on the bill could happen this week or next week, depending on the floor schedule.
Heitkamp said they still needed to gauge support among the Democratic caucus, but that she believes Democratic senators "are ready to get something done. They're ready to move the ball forward."
Kaine urged Democrats to support it, arguing it would allow them to keep pushing for stronger background check laws.
"I'm sick of the shootings. I'm sick of the vigils. ... I'm sick of the claims that we'll do something about it. I'm sick of the partisan rhetoric," he told reporters.
But senators in both parties have largely stayed on the fence about Collins's proposal.
Sen. Bob CorkerBob CorkerThe Hill's 12:30 Report Senate Foreign Relations chair: Erdogan referendum win 'not something to applaud' Groups warn of rural health 'crisis' under ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Tenn.) said "the due process issues matter so much to people,” noting that the legislation was still evolving early Tuesday afternoon.
Sen. Jon TesterJon TesterBattle begins over Wall Street rules Dems hunt for a win in Montana special election Tester raises M for reelection MORE (D-Mont.), one of three Democrats who voted against a broad background check measure Monday, said "absolutely I'm interested in it," adding he still needed to read it.
The White House isn't onboard will the Collins bill yet, either. Press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday said administration attorneys were looking at the proposal, but it's "too early to say at this point" whether President Obama will support it.
Earnest said the administration would support the bill if it "would help our law enforcement officials" and "enhance national security,” but he expressed disappointment that the measure would only "prevent some people” suspected of terrorist ties from purchasing firearms.
Collins' proposal comes after the Senate on Monday evening rejected — largely along party lines — two proposals aimed at blocking suspected terrorists from buying a gun. They also voted down two gun-control measures.
Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDraft House bill ignites new Yucca Mountain fight Week ahead: House to revive Yucca Mountain fight Warren builds her brand with 2020 down the road MORE (D-Nev.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellGOP leaders, top tax writers: Trump principles will be 'critical guideposts' Trump proposes sweeping tax reform McConnell warns Dems: No 'poison pills' in funding measure MORE (R-Ky.) pointed fingers Tuesday morning about who was to blame for Congress' inaction.
Reid said Republicans let their actions "be dictated by the National Rifle Association.”
"Here's a little secret for my Republican colleagues. The NRA doesn't care about you. It doesn't care about your constituents. It doesn't care about the constitutional rights of the followers," he added.
McConnell blamed the stalemate on Democrats, calling Cornyn's amendment a "serious proposal ... and Democrats voted against it."
Feinstein's proposal would have allowed the attorney general to block the sale of a gun if there was a "reasonable suspicion" a person had been or would be involved with a terrorist attack.
Cornyn's amendment would have allowed the attorney general to temporarily block the buying of a gun as a court decided whether the sale should be permanently blocked.
Democrats have focused on gun issues ahead of the November election, accusing Republicans of putting loyalty to the NRA ahead of stopping acts of terrorism.
Sen. Chris MurphyChris MurphyHoyer not insisting on ObamaCare subsidies in spending bill A Vandenberg movement in Congress US to step up support for Saudis, says Pentagon chief MORE (D-Conn.) — who waged a 15-hour filibuster last week — called Collins' legislation "encouraging" but added that the "devil is in the details."
"I've talked with everyone in Democratic leadership, I think it's clear that if we can get a compromise that is going to materially increase public safety and keep terrorists from getting guns we're going to vote for it," he added.
Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerCruz: 'Schumer and the Democrats want a shutdown' GOP fundraiser enters crowded primary for Pa. Senate seat Dems: Trump risks government shutdown over border wall MORE (D-N.Y.) praised Collins for making a "valiant effort," but said while an outline of the bill "seems to be a step in the right direction,” it also has "fixable problems."
Updated at 4:12 p.m. Jordan Fabian contributed.