Senate Republicans block assault weapons ban, background checks bill - The Hill
Why do Republicans block block gun safety measures that 92% of Americans support? How does a Senator from the state with the smallest population get to block the will of 92% of Americans? Puzzled about the motivation behind a political action? Follow the money.
How many Americans have been killed in mass shootings? Where was the biggest mass shooting in America? How much does the gun lobby give Republicans? Which groups are fighting for gun safety reforms. Find out with this interactive StoryMap which includes details about the UNLV shooting, Wyoming, filibuster, mass shootings and NRA lobbying.
Republicans block gun safety reforms
"Senate Republicans blocked efforts by Senate Democrats to pass an assault weapons ban and universal background checks legislation after the United States over the weekend broke the record for the most mass shootings in a single year. Republican Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) objected to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) request for unanimous consent to pass the assault weapons ban, despite the pleas of Democratic senators who took to the Senate floor to cite the harrowing statistics of gun violence in America."
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.) later stood up on the floor to ask for unanimous consent to pass legislation to require universal background checks for firearms purchases. “We don’t have more mental illness in this country, we don’t spend less money on law enforcement, we don’t have angrier people, we have more guns, and we are much more permissive in this country about allowing felons, dangerous people, to get their hands on guns." - The Hill
What is a filibuster?
In the Senate, a filibuster is an attempt to delay or block a vote on a piece of legislation or a confirmation. When a senator or a group of senators introduces a new bill, it goes to the appropriate committee for discussion, hearings, and amendments. If a majority of that committee votes in favor, the bill moves to the Senate floor for debate. Once a bill gets to a vote on the Senate floor, it requires a simple majority of 51 votes to pass after debate has ended. But there’s a catch: before it can get to a vote, it actually takes 60 votes to cut off debate, which is why a 60-vote supermajority is now considered the de facto minimum for passing legislation in the Senate.
Overuse of the filibuster magnifies problems of representation endemic to the Senate, where small and large states alike are each represented by two senators. However, the population disparity between the largest and smallest states has increased significantly since the founding. Today, the 26 least populous states are home to just 17 percent of the U.S population. This means that a group of senators representing a small minority of the country can use the filibuster to prevent the passage of bills with broad public support. - Brennan Center
Senator John Barrasso who objected to the gun safety bills is from Wyoming, the state with the smallest population in America.
TakeAway: Follow the blood money and filibuster abuse behind Republicans blocking gun safety bills.
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