The Votes Aren’t There For Gun-Control Legislation In U.S. Senate


Democrats and a few Republicans are calling on Congress to take up gun control measures again after the Charleston, S.C., massacre, but senators who back federal background checks to keep firearms out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill tell Politico there's no easy way to force a debate or a vote in the GOP-controlled Senate. Even if they could, there's next to no chance background-check legislation could pass a much more conservative Senate than the one that spurned a legislative response to the Newtown, Ct., shootings two years ago, senators said. “We don't have a specific strategy,” said Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Il.). “The obvious question is, has anything changed in votes? I don't know the answer to that. We may not know the answer … until and unless we call this for a vote. I hope we do so.”

The details of any gun package pushed by Democrats are under discussion. It would almost certainly include expanded background checks, as did legislation from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WVA) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) two years ago. Their deal would have required background checks for online sales of firearms and at gun shows. A spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) left open the possibility for Democrats to offer gun legislation as an amendment to a future bill. In the House, the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday rejected, 19-32, an amendment that would allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the underlying causes of gun violence. The CDC hasn't done any such research since 1996, when the National Rifle Association accused it of trying to use science to promote gun control

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