Senate passes first amendment to gun control bill

Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine (Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Mark Warner (Va.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mary Landrieu (La.) supported the amendment Thursday.

“This amendment is designed to protect the privacy and safety of law abiding gun owners,” Barrasso said. “If a state or local government releases information on a gun owner, then that state and government will lose money from the federal government.”

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His amendment, the first to pass, would withhold 5 percent of Community Oriented Policing Services federal funding from states and local governments that released “sensitive and confidential” information on law-abiding gun owners and victims of domestic violence.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) criticized the measure, saying it was a "feel good" amendment that never went through committee and deserved more than two minutes of debate.

Barrasso said that counties and states have released the information of gun owners before and that some of them were robbed as a result. He said guns were stolen after the information was released.

“By releasing this information, I believe puts a target on the backs of families,” Barrasso said ahead of the vote.

The Senate is considering the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, S.649, which would expand background checks on gun purchases, crack down on gun trafficking and beef up security in schools. GOP senators have said the bill goes too far and infringes on the rights of gun owners.

The Senate rejected seven other amendments Wednesday, all of which were subject to a 60-vote threshold.