The Slatest

Gun-Control Bills Expected to Fail in Senate on Monday

Connecticut Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal in the Capitol after last week’s gun-control filibuster.

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Four gun-control proposals—two put forward by Democrats and two put forward by Republicans—are expected to be voted on Monday in the Senate, and per the New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico all four are expected to fail. The bills:

  • A proposal by Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein that, in the Post’s description, would “let the attorney general deny firearms and explosive to any suspected terrorist.”
  • A competing proposal by Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn that would allow delays in sales to terror suspects but “only if [the attorney general] could prove to a judge within three business days of the attempted sale there was probable cause to suspect the buyer of ties to terrorism.”
  • A proposal by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy that would “expand background checks for anyone trying to purchase a firearm at a gun show or online.”
  • A competing proposal by Republican Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley that “would increase funding for the agency that runs background checks” but wouldn’t make them mandatory.


Why won’t any of these measures pass? In short, despite public support for background-check and terror-list legislation and the high-profile filibuster carried out last week by Murphy and the Senate’s Democrats, gun-control advocates still lack the political power of the gun-rights lobby; Republicans believe (with good reason) that they will face repercussions from highly motivated gun-rights voters and activism groups (i.e. the NRA) if they support bills that are considered too aggressive. Democrats, meanwhile, don’t want to get behind Republican proposals that they consider to be face-saving half-measures.

There is an idea being put together by Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine that won’t be voted on Monday but that does apparently have some potential to pass. From Politico:

Behind the scenes, several Republicans are working with centrist Democrats on a compromise that could pass the Senate. Collins backs a bill that would create a narrow list of suspected terrorists who would be barred outright from buying firearms. Her measure would also set up a broader list of suspected terrorists that would be used to notify federal authorities if someone on the bigger list tried to purchase a gun.

It’s not clear yet, however, whether Senate Republican leaders will allow Collins’ bill—if and when it’s finished—to be brought to a vote.