On Monday, June 20, North Carolina’s two senators cast votes to help kill two amendments to reduce the dangers of gun violence. Both Richard Burr and Thom Tillis voted against universal background checks for gun purchases and a measure to strictly limit guns sales to known terrorists.
“These were votes to keep the unacceptable status quo of gun laws,” said Becky Ceartas, director of North Carolinians Against Gun Violence [NCGV]. “It’s shocking that these harmful votes were cast in the wake of the worst mass shooting of our history in Orlando and, adding to the outrage, they came almost one year to the day since of the killings in the Charleston church.”
“In casting these votes, our senators showed their true colors. They chose not to put safety of our families first, pushing that aside to demonstrate their loyalty to the gun lobby,” Ceartas said. She pointed out that the National Rifle Association has given Sen. Thom Tillis $4,418,012 and contributed $805,219 to Sen. Richard Burr.
“Action must be taken. It’s now up to Speaker Paul Ryan and the U.S. House of Representatives to vote on similar amendments for background checks and bans on terrorists seeking to buy guns.”
The House is scheduled to take a Fourth of July break at the end of this week. Ceartas called for Rep. Ryan “to do the right thing and have the House vote on these life-saving measures. The representatives want to go home and see families and work their districts over the Fourth, but now of all times, votes on these life-or-death measures must be a first priority.”
Four proposed gun measures were voted down Monday along party lines for the most part. Sen. Christopher Murphy offered the proposal on background checks, and Sen. Diane Feinstein sponsored the amendment curtailing gun sales to known terrorists. The other two amendments were one by Sen. Charles Grassley to allow certain psychiatric patients to buy guns on the day they are released from mental institutions; it also would allow military veterans suffering from mental illnesses to buy guns. And Sen. Jon Cornyn’s proposal was to allow a suspected terrorist to buy guns unless the U.S. Attorney General could prove in court that the person had committed, or was about to commit, an act of terrorism. In addition, the gun applicant would have had the right to contest the evidence against him in court. The amendment would have required these things to be done within five business days.
Senators Burr and Tillis voted for the Grassley and Cornyn amendments. “Their votes,” said Ceartas, “were a sad attempt to try and fool the American public into believing they were doing something about gun violence. They weren’t. They acted in bad faith and we will not let this stand.”