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Sessions and Shelby Help Defeat Bill to Prevent Americans on Terror Watch List From Buying Guns

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Monday, June 20, the US Senate narrowly rejected a Democratic gun control bill, which would have prevented persons on the government’s terrorist watch list from being able to purchase firearms. The bills had the necessary votes for passage, but failed to reach the 60 vote threshold necessary to stop a Republican filibuster of the controversial legislation. Pro-second amendment rights groups claim the measure would have infringed on Americans Second Amendment rights.

The measure was sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California).

Feinstein’s bill would have prohibited people on terrorist watchlists from being able to legally buy guns or explosives. It failed 47-53. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota) was the only Democrat to vote against. Senators Kelly Ayotte (New Hampshire) and Kirk (Illinois) were the only Republicans to break ranks and support the measure.

The executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, Chris W. Cox, issued a statement regarding terror watchlists: “The NRA’s position on this issue has not changed. The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period. Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing. If an investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist. At the same time, due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watchlist to be removed. That has been the position of Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) and a majority of the U.S. Senate. Sadly, President Obama and his allies would prefer to play politics with this issue.”

Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) proposed a measure that would have allowed the state to put a three day hold on a gun sale for any person suspected of terrorist activity or the subject of a terrorism investigation in the last five years. Prosecutors could then request a court order to block the gun sale if a judge agreed. Senators Sessions and Shelby supported this proposal; but Democrats argued that it would be too difficult to implement so would fail to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists, so the Democrats voted against, so it also fell short 53 to 47.

President Obama and Senate Democrats had hoped to use the Pulse Nightclub slayings to finally push he President’s gun control agenda through the U.S. Senate. Pro-Second Amendment activists countered that the slayings of 49 people in an Orlando gay nightclub by an Islamo-fascist terrorist of Afghan parents only highlight the danger of Americans congregating in gun-free zones.

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The US Senate also blocked a Democratic measure expanding national background check system to close “gun show loophole.”

Recent polling shows that more Americans favor demanding background checks for gun sales and the no guns for terrorists provisions. Democrats hope that this will help them regain control of the Senate in the fall elections.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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