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Senators on Tuesday rolled out a bipartisan bill aimed at stopping suspected terrorists from buying a gun, as lawmakers try to overcome a stalemate on the issue.
"Essentially we believe that if you are too dangerous to fly on an airplane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun," Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Emanuel defends handling of Chicago police shooting amid opposition to nomination Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE (R-Maine) told reporters.
The legislation would allow the attorney general to block the sale of a gun if an individual is on the "no-fly" list or the so-called "selectee" list, which requires additional screening at an airport.
Collins said the two lists affect approximately 109,000 people, most of whom are foreigners.
The legislation would allow the decision to be appealed. If an appeal is successful, Collins said Americans and green card holders could get their attorney fees covered.
The measure also includes a "look back" provision that would notify the FBI when someone who was on the broader terror watchlist in the past five years buys a gun.
In addition to Collins, Republican Sens. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyottePoll: New Hampshire Senate race tight Biden likely to tap Robert Califf to return as FDA head Poll: Potential Sununu-Hassan matchup in N.H. a dead heat MORE (N.H.), Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeFlake donating unused campaign funds to Arizona nonprofit focused on elections: report Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report MORE (Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamMcCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral Mayorkas tests positive for COVID-19 breakthrough case A pandemic of hyper-hypocrisy is infecting American politics MORE (S.C.) appeared at Tuesday's press conference.
Democratic Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia Democrats look for plan B on filibuster GOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill MORE (Va.), Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA adviser quits after request to change name of James Webb telescope denied NASA won't rename James Webb Space Telescope despite controversy FAA unveils new system to reduce planes' times on taxiway MORE (Fla.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichDemocrats say they're committed to reducing emissions in Biden plan GOP lawmakers introduce measure in support of Columbus Day Overnight Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Schneider Electric — Deadly Ida floodwaters grip southeast US MORE (N.M.) and Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWashington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill MORE (N.D.) and Independent Sen. Angus KingAngus KingManchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats GOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill Dems hit crossroads on voting rights MORE (Maine), who caucuses with Democrats, also appeared in support of the bill.
The legislation is expected to get a vote, but Collins will need 60 supporters for the provision to through the Senate. Democrats say about 20 GOP senators would need to back the bill to get it past the threshold.
Collins said a vote on the bill could happen this week or next week, depending on the floor schedule.
Heitkamp said they still needed to gauge support among the Democratic caucus, but that she believes Democratic senators "are ready to get something done. They're ready to move the ball forward."
Kaine urged Democrats to support it, arguing it would allow them to keep pushing for stronger background check laws.
"I'm sick of the shootings. I'm sick of the vigils. ... I'm sick of the claims that we'll do something about it. I'm sick of the partisan rhetoric," he told reporters.
But senators in both parties have largely stayed on the fence about Collins's proposal.
Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her MORE (R-Tenn.) said "the due process issues matter so much to people,” noting that the legislation was still evolving early Tuesday afternoon.
Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterDemocrats scramble to reach deal on taxes Manchin threatens 'zero' spending in blowup with Sanders: reports GOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill MORE (D-Mont.), one of three Democrats who voted against a broad background check measure Monday, said "absolutely I'm interested in it," adding he still needed to read it.
The White House isn't onboard will the Collins bill yet, either. Press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday said administration attorneys were looking at the proposal, but it's "too early to say at this point" whether President Obama will support it.
Earnest said the administration would support the bill if it "would help our law enforcement officials" and "enhance national security,” but he expressed disappointment that the measure would only "prevent some people” suspected of terrorist ties from purchasing firearms.
Collins' proposal comes after the Senate on Monday evening rejected — largely along party lines — two proposals aimed at blocking suspected terrorists from buying a gun. They also voted down two gun-control measures.
Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidHarry Reid calls on Democrats to plow forward on immigration Democrats brace for tough election year in Nevada The Memo: Biden's horizon is clouded by doubt MORE (D-Nev.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Pelosi says GOP senators 'voted to aid and abet' voter suppression for blocking revised elections bill Manchin insists he hasn't threatened to leave Democrats MORE (R-Ky.) pointed fingers Tuesday morning about who was to blame for Congress' inaction.
Reid said Republicans let their actions "be dictated by the National Rifle Association.”
"Here's a little secret for my Republican colleagues. The NRA doesn't care about you. It doesn't care about your constituents. It doesn't care about the constitutional rights of the followers," he added.
McConnell blamed the stalemate on Democrats, calling Cornyn's amendment a "serious proposal ... and Democrats voted against it."
Feinstein's proposal would have allowed the attorney general to block the sale of a gun if there was a "reasonable suspicion" a person had been or would be involved with a terrorist attack.
Cornyn's amendment would have allowed the attorney general to temporarily block the buying of a gun as a court decided whether the sale should be permanently blocked.
Democrats have focused on gun issues ahead of the November election, accusing Republicans of putting loyalty to the NRA ahead of stopping acts of terrorism.
Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats look for plan B on filibuster The Memo: Cuts to big bill vex Democrats Democrats struggle to sell Biden plan amid feuding MORE (D-Conn.) — who waged a 15-hour filibuster last week — called Collins' legislation "encouraging" but added that the "devil is in the details."
"I've talked with everyone in Democratic leadership, I think it's clear that if we can get a compromise that is going to materially increase public safety and keep terrorists from getting guns we're going to vote for it," he added.
Sen. Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race Guns Down America's leader says Biden 'has simply not done enough' on gun control The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Manchin heatedly dismisses rumors of leaving Democratic Party MORE (D-N.Y.) praised Collins for making a "valiant effort," but said while an outline of the bill "seems to be a step in the right direction,” it also has "fixable problems."
Updated at 4:12 p.m. Jordan Fabian contributed.