Senate votes down closing 'terror loophole'
© Greg Nash

Senators rejected dueling proposals on blocking suspected terrorists from being able to buy a gun Monday, approximately a week after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Both proposals, from Sens. John CornynJohn CornynTrump slams 'very dumb' O'Rourke for proposals on guns, tax exempt status for churches GOP cautions Graham against hauling Biden before Senate Succession at DHS up in the air as Trump set to nominate new head MORE (R-Texas) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSchiff should consider using RICO framework to organize impeachment We need answers to questions mainstream media won't ask about Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Syria fallout MORE (D-Calif.) respectively, fell short of getting the 60 votes needed to move forward. Senators also rejected two background check measures — also offered as amendments to a commerce, justice and science appropriations bill — earlier Monday.


Democrats backed a proposal from Feinstein, which failed in a 47-53 vote.

Feinstein’s amendment would have allowed the attorney general to block the sale of a gun or explosive if there’s a “reasonable suspicion” an individual has or will be involved in a terrorist attack. It would allow the attorney general to block the sale of a gun to anyone under a terror investigation in the past five years.

Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidTrump thanks Reid for warning Democrats not to underestimate him Reid warns Democrats not to underestimate Trump Harry Reid predicts Trump, unlike Clinton, won't become more popular because of impeachment MORE (D-Nev.) praised the Democratic proposal earlier Monday, saying it would “close the terror loophole which allows suspected terrorists to illegally purchase weapons and explosives.”

Reid also blasted Republicans, saying they “need to put the lives of innocent Americans ahead of the NRA.”

Sens. Mark KirkMark Steven Kirk10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable GOP senator says he doesn't remember signing 2016 letter urging 'reform' of Ukraine prosecutor's office The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation MORE (R-Ill.) and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteGOP fears Trump backlash in suburbs Trump makes rare trip to Clinton state, hoping to win back New Hampshire Key endorsements: A who's who in early states MORE (R-N.H.), both of whom are up for reelection this year, voted with Democrats in favor of the amendment. Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa MORE (N.D.) was the only Democrat to vote against it.

Republicans argue the Democratic measure is too broad and would harm Americans who aren’t tied to terrorism.

“We all agree that terrorists should not be able to purchase a weapon. That is not up for debate. Anybody who suggests that it is is simply misleading,” Cornyn said ahead of the vote. “The question before us is whether we’re going to do so in a way that’s constitutional.”

His own measure, which failed 53-47, would have allowed the attorney general to delay suspected terrorists from obtaining a gun for up to 72 hours to give the Justice Department time to investigate the prospective buyers and secure a court order to stop the transfer.

Any person investigated for possible terrorist ties within the past five years could be delayed from acquiring a firearm. The provision was added after gunman Omar Mateen — previously on a federal watchlist — killed 49 people and injured 53 others in a packed gay nightclub in Orlando.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Trump's troop pull back in Syria a 'grave strategic mistake' Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump TSA head rules himself out for top DHS job   MORE (R-Ky.) urged senators to support Cornyn’s measure, saying Democrats should resist pushing “a partisan agenda or [crafting] the next 30-second campaign ad.”

“We’ve offered proposals to help connect the dots with respect to terrorist communications. We’ve offered proposals to help address the threat of lone wolf attacks like the one we saw in Orlando,” he said.

But Democrats, and some Republicans, largely rejected the Texas senator’s proposal, arguing it would tie the hands of the federal government during terrorism cases. Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule Senate Dems lose forced vote against EPA power plant rule Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever MORE (W.Va.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyWatchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (Ind.) voted for Cornyn's proposal, while GOP Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes MORE (Maine), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong How to survive an impeachment Are Senate Republicans certain that Trump can return to office? MORE (Ariz.) and Kirk voted against it.