According to a report from Reuters, a core group of Republican senators are said to be working on a secret, compromise gun control bill in the wake of the Orlando terror attacks which left 49 dead last weekend. According to the report, the effort is being spearheaded by Senator Susan Collins of Maine:
Collins’ proposal likely would be offered in the Republican-led Senate sometime next week, provided the four other gun-control proposals fail to pass on Monday. Collins’ office declined to provide a detailed account of legislation she is working on with Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.
Republicans and Democrats have offered four separate proposals to expand background checks on gun buyers and curb gun sales for people on terrorism “watch lists.” But they seem destined to fail because of partisan politics and a requirement that any proposal muster 60 of the 100 votes in the U.S. Senate.
Republican Susan Collins of Maine, leading the new effort, is considering whether to allow guns to be purchased by people named on a broad terrorism watch list kept by the FBI, but not by people whose names appear on some more narrow lists, including a “no-fly” list that bans people from boarding planes.
Senate Democrats launched a fourteen hour talking filibuster earlier this week to demand the Senate take action on gun control.
Much of the talk about gun control in the wake of the Orlando terror attack at Pulse nightclub has been centered around finding a way to limit people who have been placed on the terror watch list from purchasing firearms.
However, most legal experts agree that would be impossible under the current model for the watch list. Right now, there is no due process to be placed on, or removed from, the list. Due process is a constitutional requirement before someone’s rights can be limited.
The FBI has argued that using the watch list to limit gun rights and adding due process to the list would undermine its primary function – to comprise a list of people US authorities are currently investigating for possible terror links. Any due process hearing would tip off suspected terrorists that they are on the list and possibly make them change their behavior and jeopardizing any active FBI investigations.
Even presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has called for a meeting with the NRA to discuss ways to prevent terrorists from acquiring firearms.
I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2016
While Collins has not laid out the exact nature of her bill, she has expressed concerns that putting a blanket gun ban on terror watch lists suspects has the danger of taking rights away from law abiding Americans who are mistakenly put onto the list.
Even if the Senate was to reach the extremely unlikely 60 vote number to pass any new gun control legislation it is doubtful that the legislation would pass the Republican led House of Representatives led by Speaker Paul Ryan.