The Republicans’ flag waving for the NRA comes only 18 days after heavily armed ISIS-linked attackers savagely slaughtered 130 people in Paris and only four days after a gunman left three people dead and nine wounded at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tore into her GOP counterparts after they unanimously voted against having a floor debate on the federal Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, which would bar gun sales to those on the government’s no-fly list.
“It is outrageous that Republicans are protecting suspected terrorists’ ability to walk into a gun store and buy lethal weapons,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement following the procedural motion Tuesday afternoon.
“Our first responsibility as members of Congress is to protect and defend the American people. We do not strengthen our security by turning away terrified (refugee) families while allowing suspected terrorists to buy guns in America.”
The gun-loving Republicans — and their National Rifle Association backers — have successfully blocked the bipartisan bill, which would allow the attorney general to bar sales of firearms and explosives to those on the no-fly list, since a version was first introduced in 2007.
Many Republicans have taken a stand against sanity, shying away from any legislation limiting gun ownership in favor of laws dealing with mental health issues.
“What happened is appalling, and justice should be swift,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday of last week’s shooting in Colorado. “Clearly, we can do more, and one common denominator in these tragedies is mental illness. That’s why we need to look at fixing our nation’s mental health system.”
Federally licensed gun dealers are already barred from selling firearms to people with felony convictions or serious mental illnesses.
But some known or suspected terrorists, prohibited from boarding airplanes by the government’s no-fly list, are free to buy assault rifles and other weapons.
More than 2,000 suspects on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist bought weapons in the U.S. over the past 11 years, according to the federal Government Accountability Office.
A floor debate never stood a chance on Tuesday — even the Republican who authored the bill, Rep. Pete King (R-L.I.), voted with his colleagues against it.
But the move shows Democrats are ready to ramp up the rhetoric over the issue, and gun control more generally, following the latest terror attacks.
“I am completely focused on securing passage of the Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill and do not want anything diverting attention from that,” King said of a program that has expired and is running out of time for congressional backing to continue.