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February 10, 2016

Posts in "Guns"

January 20, 2016

Watch Live: Senate Hearing on Obama Gun Control Actions


Lynch will testify on the White House's gun actions on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Lynch will testify on the White House’s gun actions on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies holds a hearing on President Barack Obama’s executive actions on gun control earlier this month.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli are among the witnesses expected to testify.

Coverage begins at 10:30 a.m.

Full story

January 6, 2016

Senate Sets Hearing on Obama Gun Actions


Shelby has invited the attorney general to testify. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Shelby has invited the attorney general to testify. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One day after President Barack Obama unveiled his unilateral actions to combat gun violence, a senior senator invited the attorney general to answer for the proposals he considers “executive overreach.”

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee, asked Attorney General Loretta Lynch to testify at a Jan. 28 hearing on the president’s actions, which Obama argued were legal and necessary in the face of congressional inaction on gun control. Shelby’s subcommittee oversees the Department of Justice’s budget. Full story

January 5, 2016

Connecticut Democrats Take Lead Turn on Obama Gun Actions


Murphy met with Obama Monday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Murphy met with Obama Monday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Barack Obama had a message for congressional Democrats on the eve of his announcement that he was acting to combat gun violence: Don’t let Congress off the hook.

Three Connecticut Democrats, Sens. Christopher S. Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, who represents Newtown, Conn., attended an hourlong meeting with Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday evening along with other members of the House Democrats’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, where they discussed Obama’s executive actions that he would announce the following day, as well as their next moves. Full story

December 18, 2015

Senate Leaders Look Ahead to 2016


McConnell, left, and Reid, right, claimed victory in 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

McConnell, left, and Reid, right, claimed victory in 2015. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate leaders spent Friday afternoon claiming victory on the spending and tax bills that passed before lawmakers left town, and said they are now looking to highlight differences between the two parties heading into the election year.

Democrats and Republicans held back-to-back news conferences after the final votes of the year, each saying the Senate is functioning again, and they’re the reason why.

Full story

December 3, 2015

Graham: Fight ISIS to Prevent More San Bernardino Shootings


Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday, April 21, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Graham is proposing a sweeping AUMF against ISIS. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham says the way to prevent more mass shootings like the one in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday is to “make ISIL the losers they are.”

The South Carolina Republican, who is running for president, told reporters that an all-out war against the terror organization would “probably fix the problem more than gun control.”

Full story

Reid Calls the NRA a GOP ‘Quasi-Militant Wing’ (Updated)


UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 2 - Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks with Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in the basement of the U.S. Capitol before heading to the Senate floor for a vote in Washington, Tuesday, December 1, 2015. (Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Reid speaks with Schumer before heading to the Senate floor for a vote on Tuesday. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 12:46 p.m. | Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid lashed out on the National Rifle Association on Thursday as he served notice Democrats would push gun violence amendments during the Senate vote-a-rama on a budget bill.

“Now, there was a time in my legislative career that I tried to work with the National Rifle Association, but the NRA today is a far cry from [the] sportsmen’s organization that I once supported,” the Nevada Democrat said. “The NRA once called mandatory background checks ‘reasonable.’ That’s what they said. I’m not making this up.”

Full story

December 2, 2015

As San Bernardino Shooting Unfolds, Reid Pushes Guns Measure (Updated)


Armed Sheriff's department personel man a roadblock at Waterman Street near the site of a shooting took place on December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, California. One or more gunman opened fire inside a building in San Bernardino in California, with reports of 20 victims at a center that provides services for the disabled. Police were still hunting for the shooter, saying one to three possible suspects were involved. Heavily armed SWAT teams, firefighters and ambulances swarmed the scene, located about an hour east of Los Angeles, as police warned residents away.  AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / FREDERIC J. BROWN        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

News outlets were reporting that at least 14 people had been killed in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)

Updated 10:29 a.m. | Following Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said the Democrats will call for “a few” votes on gun-related amendments to the budget reconciliation bill during Thursday’s session.

Democratic Sens. Charles E. Schumer of New York, Patty Murray of Washington, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Christopher S. Murphy of Connecticut will hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. Thursday to call for the amendments.

Full story

October 9, 2015

Cornyn Pitching Mental Health as Response to Gun Violence (Video)


Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, is taking the reins on a Republican response to mass shootings. (Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cornyn is taking the reins on a Republican response to mass shootings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

While the White House, frustrated with congressional inaction, weighs its own crackdown on guns, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican is looking to address the country’s cycle of mass killings with mental health legislation that includes a stronger background check system.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the majority whip, believes the mental health angle is an opportunity for consensus. Other Republicans have signaled similar sentiment, but Cornyn is the most prominent of them. Full story

October 7, 2015

Democrats to Outline Gun Control Principles After Oregon Shooting


Democrats, led by DPCC chairman Schumer, will hold a news conference Thursday on gun control. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats, led by DPCC chairman Schumer, will hold a news conference Thursday on gun control. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Democrats will kick off their latest gun control effort Thursday on the steps of the Capitol.

A group of Democratic caucus members, including Oregon’s Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, are scheduled to take part. The most recent mass shooting took place at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. President Barack Obama is expected to travel to Roseburg on Friday.

Full story

June 19, 2015

After Charleston Shooting, Washington Short on Answers


Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.,  watch President Barack Obama speak about the Charleston shooting before holding their news conference in the Senate Radio/TV Gallery on budget negotiations Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators watch President Barack Obama speak about the Charleston shooting before holding their news conference in the Senate Radio/TV Gallery on budget negotiations Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In the wake of the shooting Wednesday night at a South Carolina church that left nine people dead, many in Washington were calling for change that doesn’t appear to be coming quickly.

Legislators offered condolences throughout the day Thursday in statements and speeches. And some — mostly Democrats — reiterated as they have after past mass killings that it’s time for action on guns. Full story

March 5, 2015

Lawmakers Decry ATF’s Proposed AR-15 Bullet Restrictions


Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Vice President Joe Biden participate in the re-enactment swearing-in ceremony in the Old Senate Chamber on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Daines, shown here being sworn-in earlier this year, is jumping into the controversy over new bullet restrictions proposed by the White House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An Obama administration proposal to prohibit certain bullets has been raising the ire of lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week, with senators on Thursday joining calls for the executive branch to back down.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., sent a letter Thursday to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Director B. Todd Jones opposing restrictions on M855 “green tip” ammunition for the AR-15 rifle. The ATF’s draft framework proposes to roll back a 1986 exception granted to the bullets from a ban on “armor-piercing ammunition.”

Full story

September 9, 2014

Watch Live: Senate Committee Holds Hearing on ‘Police Militarization’


The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee holds a 10:30 a.m. hearing on federal programs providing equipment to state and local law enforcement. Amid the uproar in Ferguson, Mo., the Defense Department’s 1033 program has come under scrutiny from lawmakers, including Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., for contributing to “police militarization.”

Witnesses include officials from the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and a photojournalist from The St. Louis American Newspaper.

 

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September 5, 2014

After Ferguson, Durbin May Seek Reforms to Police Militarization Programs


(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

After police use of military equipment in Feguson, Mo., raised concerns of excessive force following the shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager, Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., may seek to revamp two key Pentagon programs.

The Defense Department runs two programs that allow state and local police forces to receive or purchase excess military equipment — known as 1033 and 1122 respectively — and Durbin, who is also chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Defense Subcommittee, wrote to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to voice his concerns.

“The adoption by local police departments of military-style tactics and their use of military equipment have provoked concern across the nation for a number of years, but the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, give new urgency to the need for an examination of the DoD programs that supply such equipment,” said Durbin, who also has jurisdiction over the matter as chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights Subcommittee

“I appreciate the briefing that DoD officials provided to my staff about these programs. Based on this briefing I have identified several areas of concern that I wanted to bring to your attention,” Durbin added. “I intend to ensure that these issues are addressed as the Administration and Congress review these programs and consider reforms.”

Durbin cited a lack of effective coordination between the Defense Department and the Justice Department, with respect to the 1033 program, and suggested that the Justice Department could play a significant role in ensuring that police departments have valid law enforcement purposes for the equipment, do not have a history of violations of federal laws or grant requirements with regard to federally-provided equipment, and are not the subject of any allegations or investigations that would raise concerns about the possession of the equipment.

Durbin also said that he is concerned that under the 1033 program there is no procedure for evaluating whether there has been any illegal or inappropriate use of equipment, particularly of firearms, explosive devices or military vehicles.

The lack of a requirement for training for 1033 related equipment also disturbed Durbin, but he noted that the Defense Department is not the appropriate entity to provide the training.

Durbin further recommended that an independent ombudsman be part of the complaint process in an effort to help instill community confidence that the programs are being run effectively.

“I look forward to working with you to ensure that any provision of excess military equipment to civilian law enforcement is carried out with the safeguards, accountability and oversight that our communities need and deserve,” Durbin said.

Durbin’s letter comes after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing on the issue for Tuesday.

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July 10, 2014

Senate Filibusters Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Bill


(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The bipartisan sportsmen’s bill championed by endangered Sen. Kay Hagan became another election year casualty today with a majority of the Senate refusing to end debate.

The North Carolina Democrat’s measure, which would expand hunting and fishing access on federal land, was falling well short of the 60 votes to invoke cloture and end debate on the measure, as a number of Democrats joined Republicans to rebuff Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after he moved to block amendments. Just 41 voted in support of cloture and 56 opposed.

Despite having broad bipartisan support, Republicans turned their nose up at the package after the Nevada Democrat filled the amendment tree yesterday, blocking the ability to get votes on their amendments.

Reid had urged Republicans to give him a reasonable list of amendments to approve that would lead to passage of the bill. He was concerned Republicans were more interested in scoring political points than in legislating. A slew of politically charged gun rights amendments had been filed to the proposal.

The scenario has played out increasingly in recent months as both parties seek to position themselves ahead of the November midterms.

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July 9, 2014

Gun Politics Overtake Hunting Bill


Gun politics appear all-but-certain to destroy any chance of advancing a bipartisan hunting, fishing and conservation package — and with it, a chance for Sen. Kay Hagan and other endangered Democrats to tout their bipartisan legislative bona fides ahead of the November elections.

The package had huge initial support on a test vote, but like so many other bills this Congress, it quickly devolved into a standoff over politically charged amendments. A fight over gun control isn’t what Democrats had in mind when they brought the bill to the floor, but that’s what they got.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wants to broadly expand firearm access within the District of Columbia, and numerous other amendments by Republicans would expand access to firearms and ammunition, cheered on by the group Gun Owners of America. That group has blasted the bill as a “fake ‘pro-gun’ bill designed to re-elect endangered anti-gun Democrats up in 2014 in pro-gun states,” and the “Harry Reid Preservation Act.” Full story

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