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The Orlando, Fla., massacre reignited on Monday the debate over whether Americans like Omar Mateen who have been named on the government’s terrorist watch lists, or have been otherwise suspected by the authorities of ties to terrorist groups, should be allowed to purchase a gun. In Congress, even some supporters of gun rights seemed to be having second thoughts.
Six months after Republicans in Congress defeated a measure that would have closed the so-called terror gap after the San Bernardino, Calif., attack, Senate Democrats moved swiftly on Monday to restart the debate over tightening federal gun laws.
As a first step, the Democrats demanded that Republicans take up legislation aimed at banning the sale of guns or explosives to people who have appeared on watch lists, or who have been suspected by the Justice Department of ties to terrorist organizations.
“In the wake of Orlando, we need to think about what kind of country and Senate we want to be,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, a Democrat, said in a conference call with reporters. “Are we going to take the painfully obvious common-sense steps so that terrorists can’t get guns, or are we going to bow down to the N.R.A.?” he asked, referring to the National Rifle Association.
Mr. Schumer and other Democrats insisted that the legislation that failed in December could have prevented Mr. Mateen, identified as the Orlando gunman, from buying the weapons used in the attack. “We are now living with the consequences of that vote,” Mr. Schumer said. “How many more people have to die at the hands of a terrorist with a gun before the Senate acts?”
Just one Republican, Senator Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, voted in favor of the legislation in December, but Democrats said on Monday they believed that Republicans would come under new pressure. Indeed, there were signs that some Republicans might be reconsidering.
Just for kicks:
- From procon.org: Should More Gun Control Laws Be Enacted?