House to vote on NRA-backed gun measure

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The House will vote next week on a proposal aimed at preventing suspected terrorists from buying guns — but it is unlikely to gain support from Democrats, who say it doesn’t go far enough.

House Republicans unveiled a counterterrorism legislative package in the aftermath of last month’s mass shooting in Orlando that includes a provision requiring the Justice Department to obtain a court order to prevent a terrorist suspect from buying a gun. However, law enforcement officials would only have three days to attempt to block the sale.

{mosads}The Senate rejected a similar measure authored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) last month in a largely party-line vote of 53-47, short of the 60 necessary to advance. 

Democrats prefer a bill authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would prevent gun sales to people on the government’s terrorist watchlists. Feinstein’s proposal also failed by a vote of 47-53.

Cornyn’s measure is backed by the National Rifle Association, which says a proposal like Feinstein’s would not sufficiently protect due process.

It’s unclear how Democrats will protest GOP leaders’ decision to put forward a gun measure they oppose.

House Democrats last week staged a nearly 26-hour sit-in on the floor to push for a vote on legislation more like Feinstein’s, as well as a bill to require background checks on more gun sales.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who led last week’s sit in, has requested a meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to make the case for allowing votes on two amendments to the counterterrorism package. Democrats want votes on a bill to expand background checks to internet sales and gun shows, as well as another to give the attorney general authority to block gun sales to suspected terrorists.
If the amendments are not allowed votes, then Democrats will have further discussions about possible actions in response, according to a Democratic aide.

Last month’s shooting in Orlando, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, has sparked debates over how to prevent a similar massacre. Democrats have largely focused on gun control while Republicans have highlighted the shooter’s reported sympathies to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“The San Bernardino and Orlando attacks, as well as attacks on our allies across the world, have shown us that ISIS’s hatred and violence is not contained to Iraq and Syria. More must be done to protect our citizens and prevent future attacks on the homeland, and this bill embodies our continued and resolute focus on protecting our nation from terrorism,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said in a statement Friday.

In a statement Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed the upcoming measure as “toothless.”

“Democrats will continue to push House Republicans to give the American people a vote on meaningful gun violence prevention measures that will save lives and protect our communities from terrorism: with expanded, strengthened background checks and meaningful No Fly, No Buy legislation,” Pelosi said.

This story was updated at 2:30 p.m.


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