Senate blocks gun control measures again

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/6/21 21:18:01

The US Senate on Monday blocked four gun-control measures as the country reeled from one of the deadliest shootings in US history.

The failure to pass any of the measures was widely expected even long before the vote began, since the competing bills, two Democratic and two Republican proposals, were a repetition of the partisan fight on the gun-control issue.

The votes of all four bills, which focused on whether to expand background checks and to block selling of firearms to anyone on federal government's terrorism watch list, were largely along party lines.

Democrats insisted that the sales of firearms should be blocked if there is a "reasonable suspicion" that someone is and will possibly be on the government's terrorism watch list.

Democrats also sought a background check for the sales and transfer of guns with a handful of exception, a long-held stance almost unanimously opposed by Republicans in both chambers.

Currently, purchasing firearms at gun shows and on the Internet does not require any background check in the majority of US states.

On the Republican side, GOP lawmakers were pushing forward a measure that would allow the government to delay a gun sale to a suspected terrorist for 72 hours while attorney generals have to seek a court order within the period to permanently block the sale.

And instead of imposing an almost universal background check system, Republicans' proposal for the expanding of background checks included providing incentives to share mental health records.

The Senate's latest legislative effort to curb rampant gun violence comes at a time when the country witnessed the deadliest terror attack in the history since the 9/11 terror attacks in the year of 2001.

As many as 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded on June 12 in a shooting spree at a popular LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

The gunman, Omar Mateen, legally purchased a handgun and an assault-style rifle weeks before the attack. He was temporarily on the FBI's terrorism watch list in 2013.

In recent years, after high-profile mass shootings occurred, such as the carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012 which claimed 28 lives, including 20 children, Democrats tried but failed each time to reform the country's flawed gun laws.

In 2013, the Obama administration's gun control initiatives, including expanded background checks and bans on assault weapons, were stymied in Congress after staunch opposition from Republican lawmakers and gun-rights lobby groups.

This is a commentary of the Xinhua News Agency.

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