Domestic Terrorism Bill Fails in the Senate

Bipartisan group begins work on new guns measure
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 26, 2022 2:22 PM CDT
Domestic Terrorism Bill Fails in the Senate
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York speaks on the Senate floor Wednesday, May 25, 2022.   (Senate Television via AP)

(Newser) – Democrats’ first attempt at responding to the back-to-back mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, failed in the Senate Thursday as Republicans blocked a domestic terrorism bill that would have opened debate on questions surrounding hate crimes and gun safety, per the AP. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to nudge Republicans into taking up a domestic terrorism bill that had cleared the House quickly last week, saying it could become the basis for negotiation. But the vote failed along party lines, raising fresh doubts about the possibility of robust debate, let alone eventual compromise, on gun safety measures. The final vote was 47-47, short of the 60 needed to take up the bill. All Republicans voted against it.

“None of us are under any illusions this will be easy,” Schumer said ahead of the vote. Rejection of the bill, just two days after the mass shooting at Texas elementary school that killed 19 children and two teachers, brought into sharp relief Congress' persistent failure to pass legislation to curb the nation's epidemic of gun violence. Schumer said he will give bipartisan negotiations in the Senate about two weeks, while Congress is away for a break, to try to forge a compromise bill that could pass the 50-50 Senate, where 60 votes will be needed to overcome a filibuster.

A small, bipartisan group of senators who have for years sought to negotiate legislation on guns met Thursday following the vote and emerged with areas “of potential agreement." Those appeared to include providing grants to states to implement red flag laws—designed to keep firearms from people who could harm themselves or others—and updating an effort to expand background checks for commercial gun sales, including at gun shows and on the internet. “We’ve got about 10 members, equal numbers on both sides,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who is leading the negotiations. “We have a good list of things to work on.” He added that the group plans to follow up with a phone call next week.

(Read more Senate stories.)

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