House to vote on gun legislation

Greg Nash/The Hill

A week after Democrats staged a nearly 26-hour sit-in demanding a vote on gun control measures, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the House will vote next week on legislation to block suspected terrorists from buying guns.

In a conference call Thursday, Ryan told rank-and-file Republicans that the House will take up a terrorism package that will include measures to disrupt radicalization and recruitment, as well as a provision to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing guns, according to a source on the call.

{mosads}It’s unclear exactly which bill will be brought to the floor.

Democrats launched a daylong protest on the House floor last week demanding a vote on such legislation in the wake of the Orlando shooting rampage that killed 49.

Ryan on the call reiterated that it’s important to ensure suspected terrorists can’t obtain guns, calling it common sense. But the Speaker said he wanted to approach the issue deliberatively to protect due process and Second Amendment rights.

The House next week will also take up a bipartisan bill by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) that seeks to address gun violence by overhauling the mental health system. That bill recently cleared the Energy and Commerce Committee.

A Democratic source said the more controversial gun-purchase provision may be similar to a bill sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) that’s backed by the National Rifle Association.

Democrats say the Cornyn bill doesn’t go far enough since it includes a “probable cause” standard that would require law enforcement officials to prove that a gun buyer is an actual terrorist rather than a suspected terrorist.

Instead, Democrats want a vote on legislation that would bar firearm sales to anyone on a terrorism watch list or no-fly list.

Without a vote on their own legislation, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and other Democrats have threatened to take control of the House floor once again after they return from the Fourth of July recess. On Wednesday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and dozens of other Democrats held events around the country demanding action to stop gun violence.

“House Democrats will keep up our efforts to push for the majority to allow a vote on gun violence legislation, but bringing up a bill authored by the NRA just isn’t going to cut it,” said Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill.

Ryan has dismissed the sit-in as a “publicity stunt” and said Republicans will be ready for the next one. On Thursday, Ryan said he has asked the sergeant-at-arms and parliamentarians for recommendations about how to respond if Democrats try to occupy the floor and gum up the legislative process next week.

The Speaker said that his leadership team is gathering all the facts and weighing all of their options, according to the source on the call.

Some GOP lawmakers have been urging Ryan to punish those Democrats who violated House rules by taking photographs and videos from the chamber floor. Censure is one option being floated.

But Ryan provided no details about what steps his team might take. House Republicans, the source said, will take any action they feel is necessary after a thorough review.

Ryan also provided his GOP conference with updates on Senate passage of the Puerto Rico bill and the Benghazi report, and accused Senate Democrats of blocking Zika funding.

– Updated at 3:17 p.m. 

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