The US Senate voted down two gun-violence prevention amendments that would have struck the balance Americans are seeking in our nation’s laws regulating the sale and ownership of guns. The unconscionable vote to stop these gun violence prevention measures comes just a week after 49 LGBTQ and allied people were massacred—and 53 others were injured—in an attack on a club in Orlando on Latin night.
The amendments to the FY 17 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Act (H.R. 2578) were introduced by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chris Murphy. Senator Feinstein’s proposal, backed by the Department of Justice, would have ensured that the Department of Justice had the authority to deny gun sales to individuals the Department had a reasonable suspicion was involved in terrorism. Senator Murphy’s proposal would have closed the unlicensed seller loophole by requiring criminal background checks on all sales while maintaining reasonable exceptions for family, hunting, and emergency self-defense.
The HRC responded: “We are deeply disappointed in each and every Senator who failed to stand up today for commonsense gun violence prevention legislation. For decades, LGBTQ people have been a target for bias-motivated violence, and easy access to deadly weapons has compounded this threat. The volatile combination of animosity towards the LGBTQ community and easy access to deadly weapons exacerbates the climate of fear and the dangers faced by LGBTQ people. Reasonable gun violence prevention measures are part of the solution to bias-motivated violence, and it’s critical that Congress pass commonsense legislation.”