News and Commentary

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Senate’s Gun Control Bills

After a 15-hour filibuster conducted by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) and other Democratic Senators following the Orlando, FL terror attack, there are now four gun control bills floating around in the Senate. Here’s everything you need to know about them.

1. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA’s) proposed bill would prevent those that have been on the terror watch list at some point in the last five years from obtaining a firearm as well as anyone under investigation for terrorism.

Feinstein’s bill sets a lower standard of “reasonable belief”–akin to “a warrantless search and seizure or arrest”–rather than “probable cause” for denying a gun purchase due to relations to terrorism as well as if the individual has “been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support or resources for terrorism.”

But as the Daily Wire explained on Tuesday, this is the kind of bill that violates due process rights and would prevent law-abiding citizens who are mistakenly on the list from obtaining a firearm. It’s also unnecessary since the background check system already cross references with the terror watch list, but usually the government doesn’t have enough evidence to stop the purchase.

Because of the “reasonable belief” standard, it would be a lot more difficult for an individual to appeal the government’s denial of their gun transaction and win, which would result in many being denied their Second Amendment right to a firearm.

2. Murphy’s proposed amendment would close the “gun show loophole: and expand background checks to internet sales.

Problem is, as the Daily Wire has explained, the “gun show loophole” does not exist, as only private sellers whose primary business isn’t selling guns aren’t subjected to background checks at gun shows, and they’re easily the minority of dealers at gun shows. Background checks are also already extended to internet sales as well.

3. Sen. John Cornyn’s (R-TX) bill would allow the federal government to halt a gun transaction for up to 72 hours if that person has been on the terror watch list at any point in the past five years.

Cornyn proposed this bill back in December, but the Democrats objected to it then and continue to do so because the bill requires the government to show “probable cause” that the individual is associated with terrorism. The Democrats argue this is too high of a standard to abide by, even though it’s the same standard used to obtain a search warrant and is the current standard for denying firearms from those who are under felony charges. The National Rifle Association backs Cornyn’s bill.

4. Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) amendment would include “mental health considerations” to the background check system.

The amendment would provide a concrete definition for “mentally incompetent” when buying a gun, provide more funding to the background check system and better connect the background check system with the court system, Congress and the states. Grassley’s bill would also require the attorney general to conduct a study on the “sources and causes of mass shootings,” which would include video games and “psychological factors.”

All four gun control measures failed in the Senate.