Orlando changed nothing: The Senate just voted down four gun control measures

Filibusterin’ senator Chris Murphy.
Filibusterin’ senator Chris Murphy.
Image: AP/Senate television
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It’s been eight days since the Orlando massacre. Has it changed the gun control debate in the US?

Not according to the Senate, which just voted down four measures to improve background checks and restrict weapon sales to people on terrorist watch lists.

Two of the measures were sponsored by Democrats, and two by Republicans, but in the end none cleared the 60-vote hurdle needed to proceed. Most of the votes were along party lines.

“Shame on every single senator who voted against these life-saving amendments and protected the rights of terrorists and other dangerous people to buy guns,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. In the lobby of the Senate, victims of gun violence were spotted weeping after the measures failed.

Monday’s votes could end up affecting upcoming Senate races. The US gun control movement is targeting vulnerable senators like New Hampshire’s Kelly Ayotte, who voted against three of the four measures, threatening to unseat them in the next election.

Connecticut senator Chris Murphy, who came to office shortly after the slaughter at Sandy Hook elementary school, led a 15-hour filibuster to press his colleagues for a vote on his amendment.

A measure he sponsored, which would have closed nearly all loopholes that allow people to buy guns without a background check, was only about to muster 44 of the required 60 votes. Americans of either political party overwhelmingly support background checks for all gun buyers.