WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) Monday released the following statement after the Senate voted on several security and gun-related amendments to the FY17 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill (HR 2578):
“Keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists and protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves is not mutually exclusive. My colleagues and I have all taken an oath of office to protect and defend our nation, as well as protect and defend the Constitution, including Second Amendment rights, which should never be removed without due process. Unfortunately, two of the amendments that were considered today would remove the constitutional rights of Americans without adequate protections.
“We can preserve Second Amendment rights while also working together to reduce violence in our culture, but we must first put aside politics and have an honest discussion. It’s already standard practice to notify the FBI and delay a gun sale to anyone on the known or suspected terrorist list,” Lankford said.
Lankford supported the Sen. Chuck Grassley amendment #4751 and the Sen. John Cornyn amendment #4749, but opposed the Sen. Chris Murphy amendment #4750 and the Sen. Diane Feinstein amendment #4720. All amendments failed because they did not reach the required 60 votes to invoke cloture.
Background on the amendments:
• Sen. Chuck Grassley amendment #4751 (53-47) – This would reform the National Criminal Instant Background Check System to ensure that the correct records are uploaded into the system promptly.
• Sen. John Cornyn amendment #4749 (53-47) – This would make sure the Attorney General and law enforcement is notified if someone who is or was investigated as a terrorist in the last five years attempts to buy a gun. The Attorney General can then file an emergency petition to stop the transfer, which the court can grant only after a hearing and a finding of probable cause.
• Sen. Chris Murphy amendment #4750 (44-56) – This would expand universal background checks to all private gun sales, and enact penalties for states that do not promptly comply with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
• Sen. Diane Feinstein amendment #4720 (47-53) – This would give the Attorney General the authority to deny the transfer of a firearm if they determine that an individual is a threat to public safety based only on reasonable suspicion, not probable cause. The individual is not given a hearing or any due process prior to the transfer being denied.