Surprise Gun-Control Filibuster in the US Senate
Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a gun-control advocate whose home state saw the massacre of 20 school children at Sandy Hook Elementary, has launched a surprise filibuster on the floor of the Senate. His effort was immediately backed up by the senior Senator of CT, Richard Blumenthal.
Popular outrage has again flared in response to another mass shooting in the United States, this time in Orlando, Florida, where 49 victims were killed and 50 more injured by Omar Mateen. The shooter acquired an automatic assault rifle similar to an AR-15.
The Democrats in the Senate are asking for a debate over two principle positions: (1) individuals on the terrorist watchlist, who are already prevented from flying on airplanes, should not be allowed to legally purchase guns; (2) if terrorists cannot be stopped from purchasing weapons at venues like gun shows and online sales, which do not require background checks, then background checks should be imposed.
Meanwhile, the American Medical Association has woken up from a two-year old slumber and demanded the Congress to lift the decade-old ban on federal funding for gun violence research.
To provide some background on this, from 1986 to 1996, the CDC sponsored and carried out public health research on gun violence. In 1993, it funded a study by researchers at the University of Tennessee. The researchers found that “rather than confer protection, guns kept in the home are associated with an increase in the risk of homicide by a family member or intimate acquaintance.”
The National Rifle Association didn’t like that. It lobbied to get rid of the CDC’s Center for National Injury Prevention, and while that didn’t happen, it was successful in another sense. In 1996, Congress added a few lines to the Omnibus Appropriations Bill. They said: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”
However, now, the shooting at the nightclub in Orlando has led many to reconsider and reevaluate their stance on gun-control.