Gun Control Coming Soon? Senate Gun Control Votes Expected After Orlando Mass-Shooting

Gun Control

Gun Control Coming Soon? Senate Gun Control Votes Expected After Orlando Mass-Shooting

One week after the deadly mass-shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a series of proposals to block gun sales to terror suspects and expand screening of people buying firearms in the United States. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, it is not clear that any gun control measure can pass Congress, where majority Republicans say Islamic State-inspired domestic terrorism is to blame for the slaughter in Orlando.

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"I've had enough. I've had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I've had enough of inaction in this body," Murphy said during the filibuster which he launched at around 11:21 a.m. Wednesday. He vowed to remain on the Senate floor "until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together."



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Via herald-review Sooner or later, the Supreme Court will have to decide who's right. How it would have ruled in Antonin Scalia's day was hardly certain. But its Second Amendment opinions imply that the Second Amendment prerogative to employ a gun for personal protection extends beyond one's front door.

In 2008, the court listed various restrictions it considered permissible: "prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms." The list's omission of laws against carrying guns in public was conspicuous.

The justices found that many 19th-century courts allowed states to forbid carrying concealed weapons while noting that some struck down laws against carrying guns openly. But the right to "bear arms" doesn't sound as though you are entitled just to sleep with a pistol on your nightstand.

If the right to self-defense applies beyond the home, states can hardly forbid law-abiding citizens to venture out in public without the means to protect themselves. A dissenting judge in the California case reached the sensible conclusion: States may ban concealed carry or open carry but not both.

The two landmark Second Amendment cases were decided by 5-4 votes, with Scalia in the majority. Without him, the eight remaining justices might be evenly divided on concealed-carry bans. So the next person to join the court could ultimately cast the deciding vote.

As a general, practical rule, it may not matter much how the Supreme Court finally rules on this question. Most states enacted permissive concealed-carry laws on their own and would keep them regardless.

But it matters in principle, and in some states, like Illinois and California, it matters in practice. To a voting public that includes nearly 13 million people with concealed-carry permits, it will certainly matter on Election Day.

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