Durbin says the measure could spark a fight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)
A bipartisan bundle of hunting and fishing legislation could get shot down by a partisan battle over gun control.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., has drafted an amendment limiting the circumstances under which veterans can be denied access to firearms because of mental illness, a proposal the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat said would prompt a response from advocates of stricter gun control.
“If we open this to a gun debate, we’re going to hear both sides,” Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin told reporters Tuesday.
“We’re working on it,” the Illinois Democrat said when asked about drafting an amendment favoring more stringent policy regarding firearms. “Mr. Coburn has decided he wants an amendment. He wants to expand the carrying of firearms across America. Many of us want to reduce … the firearm violence across America.”
An effort by Durbin and the Democrats to push the issue comes as Chicago officials are grappling with a new wave of gun violence over the weekend. But the fight is heating up given that Coburn is just one of the Republicans with pro-gun amendments.