Late yesterday afternoon, the Senate voted on 4 separate gun related amendments to the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act. The four amendments, two sponsored by Republicans and two sponsored by Democrats, were each voted down largely along party lines. The legislation followed a week that started with a shooting in Orlando, Florida that left 50 people dead and more than 50 injured and ended with a 15-hour filibuster by Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) during which he preached “common sense gun reform”.
Murphy’s amendments, which were proposed along with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), would prevent anyone on the “terror watch list” or the “no-fly list” from buying a gun and would expand background checks to all private firearms sales. The current use of these secret FBI lists already violates due process, but their use to limit a constitutional right would mark an unprecedented shredding of the 5th Amendment. Despite the claims of the gun grabbing duo, their “common sense” solutions would result in gross violations of our constitutional rights and would have done virtually nothing to stop the shooting in Orlando had they been in place beforehand. Omar Mateen purchased the weapons from a licensed dealer, passed a background check, and was not on either of the secret lists.
The debate over the amendments sparked a slew of ignorant comments by the firearm illiterate left, but one of the more absurd claims came during a press conference directly following the vote. Senator Murphy stated that because they voted down his bill -a proposal even the ACLU considers to be unconstitutional– “Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS”. That’s right, Republicans who stood up for due process are actually aiding and abetting terrorists according to Chris Murphy.
Now, if that statement seems too outlandish to come from a sitting US Senator, and much more like something you would hear from Donald Trump, I would agree with you. However, Murphy was not the only person to say it. Following Murphy’s statement, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) tweeted the following: “.@ChrisMurphyCT said it right: The @SenateGOP have decided to sell weapons to ISIS”. Warren’s tweet was widely mocked, including by many mainstream news reporters, but a few responses stood out.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) fired back by insinuating that Warren is a liar.
Newly minted National Review Editor, Charles Cooke, used it as an opportunity to blast Democrats for their inconsistencies on Omar Mateen’s connections to ISIS.
However, the best response came from Rand Paul’s former chief of staff, Doug Stafford.
Stafford points out that President Obama and Secretary Clinton have actually funneled weapons to terrorists. In fact, many of the weapons Obama and Clinton sent to help “moderate rebels” in Libya and Syria are now in the hands of ISIS.
It is truly astonishing that a Party responsible for such careless and destructive arms deals feels it has the moral authority to tell law-abiding American citizens what guns they can own. Next time, instead of lecturing Senate Republicans for standing up for the Constitution, Warren and Murphy would be better served by rooting out the hawks in their own Party.