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US Senate won’t tighten gun control after Orlando shooting

Four attempts to amend current legislation have been inexplicably blocked by the government

The US Senate reportedly voted down four proposed gun control measures on Monday, just one week after the deadliest mass shooting in North American history.

The attack, which was committed by Orlando resident Omar Mateen, saw 49 people lose their lives while partying at an LGBTQ nightclub on June 12. Due to the magnitude of the massacre, it ignited fierce debate over gun control legislation; with representatives for both the Democrats and Republicans urging for more thorough background checks on potential firearm owners (particularly in the case of Mateen, who had been on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist between 2013-2014).

Unfortunately, despite public and political outcry, four attempts to tighten these measures were voted down yesterday (June 20) during a 15-hour filibuster. According to The Guardian, none of the amendments put forward – which included two from the Republicans and two from the Democrats – amassed enough support to reach the 60 votes needed to pass congressional rules.

The first, put forward by Democrat Senator Chris Murphy, urged legislators to enforce background checks for all gun sales. It was opposed by 56 Senators, with only 44 showing support. The second was requested by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, and allowed the denial of firearm sales to anyone on the terrorist “no-fly list”. This, bizarrely, was also rejected; with 47 votes for and 53 against.

The requested Republican measures were less restrictive, but still failed to pass. Texas Senator John Cornyn wanted law enforcement to be alerted when anyone on the terrorist watch list attempted to buy a gun, and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley wanted funds to increase for federal background checks. Unlike the two Democrat amendments, these both secured a majority of 53 – though sadly failed to reach the 60 required to progress any further.

In a statement, Senator Chris Murphy said he was “mortified" by the results, and blamed the result on the Republican connection to the National Rifle Association (NRA). “We knew breaking the NRA's stranglehold on this Congress would be a long, uphill climb,” he wrote. “This country is rising up to demand stronger, safer gun laws, and in the fact of unspeakable tragedy, our movement for change got stronger this week.”

“I don’t think democracy allows for this Congress to be so out of step with the American public for very long,” he added.