Cornyn blocks Dem push to ban guns for suspected terrorists


Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Tuesday blocked a Democratic push to pass legislation that would bar suspected terrorists from owning guns. 

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) sought unanimous consent to pass legislation from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that would allow the attorney general to block known or suspected terrorists from buying a gun or explosive if they believe the purchase will be tied to an act of terrorism. 
{mosads}Cornyn objected, adding that Democrats were trying to create a “gotcha moment” that could be used against Republican senators who are running for president or running for reelection. 
“If these people on this government watch list are truly dangerous, why isn’t the Obama administration and the Obama Justice Department indicting them, taking them to court?” he asked. 
Murphy, along with Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), urged Republican colleagues to support Feinstein’s legislation after it was blocked last week from being included as an amendment to an ObamaCare repeal bill. 
Only one Republican, Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), supported it at the time. 

Cornyn asked Murphy if he would be willing to amend the legislation so that the government would be able to delay a suspected terrorist from being able to buy a gun for up to 72 hours while they try to get a court to block the sale.  

Murphy objected to that request. Democrats — who largely opposed a push by the Texas Republican to include a similar amendment in the ObamaCare repeal bill — suggested the additional provisions would be a step too far. 

“If there are problems with any individual being on the list, challenge it. But clearly, having to wait 72 hours for the check and for the denial of permission to go forward is unreasonable,” Blumenthal said Tuesday. 
Cornyn’s proposal would go further than Feinstein’s, including allowing the federal government to arrested suspected terrorists after a court agrees to block the sale of a gun and by permanently authorizing wiretaps targeting “lone wolf terrorists.” 
Schumer said it was “extra insanity” that the Senate hadn’t moved forward with Feinstein’s legislation in the wake of last week’s shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 people. 
Cornyn fired back that Democratic lawmakers were trying to “capitalize” on the shooting in order to take away constitutional rights without “any proof and without any evidence.” 
Murphy said those comments were “insulting,” adding, “We should all agree that if you are on the terrorist watch list, you can’t walk out of a gun store with a gun, and it shouldn’t be incumbent on the federal government to go through a court process in order to stop you from doing that.”
Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pledged earlier this week that Democrats would repeatedly try to force a vote on Feinstein’s legislation.
– This story was updated at 5:54 p.m.
Tags Chris Murphy Chuck Schumer Dianne Feinstein Gun control John Cornyn San Bernardino shootings
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