Congressional Democrats’ kept up a full-court press to pass gun control legislation Monday, just hours ahead of votes on dueling legislative proposals in the Senate and despite increasing odds that gun control advocates won’t have enough votes to pass any changes.
“Sadly the expectation is that you are not going to get enough Republican Senators,” Florida Sen. Bill Nelson told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on “New Day” in reference to the gun control proposals up for votes. “All you need is 14 Republican Senators.”
But Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar told CNN’s Jim Sciutto that while there remains fierce resistance to gun control legislation in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the push for action in the wake of the Orlando terror attack reflects new momentum in the gun control debate.
“I don’t know that it’s going to be different than when we had votes in the past, but there is one thing that is different. People are starting to talk. There are starting to be negotiations going on. I think that’s very important,” Klobuchar said.
The Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on two competing proposals — one from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and one from GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas — that also seek to prevent those with potential terror ties from buying guns. But similar versions by those senators were rejected in December and neither is expected to pass next week.
In addition, senators will vote on one Democratic and one Republican proposal addressing background checks for gun sales, but members of both parties admit they are unlikely to be approved.
Klobuchar also continued to advocate for a law that would prevent terror suspects from being able to purchase weapons.
“We know that the vast majority of the American people want to see better background checks and they also don’t want people on a terror watch list to go out and purchase a weapon,” she said.
She cited presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s support for such a proposal, noting she was “actually kind of surprised that the Republican presidential candidate has said people on the terror watch list shouldn’t be able to go out and purchase a weapon,” apparently referencing a tweet Trump sent last week saying he was open to discussing such a proposal. Trump told ABC Sunday, however, he “understands exactly” the NRA’s concerns over such a proposal.
Klobuchar pointed to the intersection of concerns about gun violence and terrorism as a “political sweet spot” that could actually result in meaningful policy change.
But she also cautioned that “if we don’t make it tonight, it’s not the end. There’s still room to continue to work.”