House rejects effort to vote on keeping guns from terror suspects

The House rejected an effort on Thursday from Democrats to force a vote on legislation that would prevent people on the government’s terror watch list from buying guns.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered a privileged resolution that called for an immediate vote on the legislation, which Democrats have been pushing aggressively following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. last week.

{mosads}Pelosi’s resolution argues that a vote on the bill authored by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is necessary “in order to protect the American people and the integrity of the legislative process.”

“By refusing to act, we disgrace the House, we dishonor the American people, and we erode America’s faith in our democracy,” Pelosi said on the floor.

Under House rules, any lawmaker can offer a privileged resolution to question the safety, dignity or integrity of House proceedings. But Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), who was presiding over the House at the time, ruled that Pelosi’s resolution did not meet the description for a question of House privileges.

Pelosi then asked to appeal Womack’s ruling. The House subsequently voted along party lines to sustain the GOP ruling, 242-173.

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) was the only Democrat to vote with Republicans to table Pelosi’s resolution. Not a single Republican — not even King, the author of the bill restricting gun sales to terror suspects — voted with Democrats.

Thursday marks the third day in a row House Democrats have interrupted scheduled proceedings with votes to protest GOP opposition to the measure preventing suspected terrorists from buying guns.

Gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association say that the measure could deny innocent people from their right to bear arms, since some individuals on the government’s no-fly list may be on it by mistake.

Earlier this week, Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) filed a discharge petition to force a vote on the legislation. The rarely-used procedure requires 218 signatures, which appears to be a long shot given widespread oppositon among Republicans for new gun control measures. 

Democrats also held up floor proceedings for hours on Tuesday by forcing votes on motions to adjourn to protest the absence of legislative responses to mass shootings.

Senate Democrats have similarly forced symbolic votes or tried to pass similar legislation to make it harder for terror suspects to buy guns. 

– This story was updated at 5:51 p.m.

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