FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – As the Senate rejected what he called "common sense" gun safety measures Thursday, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) blasted his Republican colleagues.
Blumenthal issued the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked two amendments to the budget reconciliation bill that would have enacted measures to reduce gun violence:
“Today, the Senate continued its complicity in the gun violence epidemic that plagues our country and continues to take innocent lives every day," Blumenthal said. "Even after yesterday’s tragic massacre in San Bernardino – the 355th mass shooting in America this year -- the Senate failed to approve commonsense, life-saving measures to reduce gun violence.
“It is shameful and egregious that even sensible legislation to stop those on the FBI’s Terrorist Watch List from purchasing a firearm – people who have been deemed too dangerous to board an airplane – did not receive majority support. No less shameful is the Senate’s failure to close the loophole that allows people to purchase guns at gun shows without undergoing a background check."
Blumenthal called on his colleagues to act.
“The American people did not elect us to shrug our shoulders, they elected us to provide solutions," he said. "Gun violence takes over 30,000 lives every year. I will continue to fight for sensible, meaningful legislation that will combat the scourge of gun violence.”
Specifically, the two amendments voted on would have eliminated background check loopholes that allow guns to be sold over the Internet and at gun shows without any background checks at all.
Millions of guns are sold through these loopholes every year, and according to one study, nearly 70 percent of prison inmates obtained the guns used in crimes through transactions that did not require a background check, Blumenthal said.
The measures would also would have prevented those on the terror watch list from purchasing guns and explosives.
The Government Accountability Office found that between 2004 and 2014, suspected terrorists attempted to exploit this loophole and purchase guns at least 2,233 times, succeeding in 2,043 of those instances, or 91 percent of the time, he said.
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