Senator McCain opposes filibustering over gun bill
Republicans say they intend to prevent threat to Second Amendment rights
Senator John McCain is adamant in his opposition to a filibuster over a debate over gun legislation to be brought to the Senate floor this week, in spite of threats of such action by fellow Republican senators. Speaking out on CBS' "Face the Nation," Arizona's McCain says "I don't understand it. The purpose of the United States Senate is to debate and to vote and to let the people know where we stand."
Speaking out on CBS' "Face the Nation," Arizona's John McCain says "I don't understand it. The purpose of the United States Senate is to debate and to vote and to let the people know where we stand."
They, along with other republican wrote that they would oppose a bill that "would infringe on the American people's constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance." The expanded letter was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
While the three-paragraph letter doesn't include the word "filibuster," it appears to be a veiled threat that the Republican will vehemently stand against any "vehicle for any additional gun restrictions."
McCain said that he would not encourage such an approach. "I don't understand it," he said. "What are we afraid of?"
Recent polls show a vast majority of Americans favor an expansion of the background check system to include private transactions, such as those made at gun shows, sharp division over the issue is expected in the Senate.
When Congress returns from its spring break, the upper chamber is scheduled to begin voting on gun control measures as soon as this week. Democratic sources admit that the gun bill as currently written does not have the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.
As expected, the National Rifle Association is firmly opposed to the bill. It favors expanding the system to include more data on those with a history of mental health issues but fears that a broader expansion or records of sales could violate Second Amendment rights and lead to further restrictions.
The White House has been applying pressure on Congress to pass the legislation. President Obama urged action last week when he traveled to Colorado, site of a movie theater massacre in July. Obama will also make a visit to Hartford, Connecticut, not far from the Newtown elementary school where 20 children and six adults were killed nearly four months ago.
"On the eve of Senate consideration of gun safety proposals the President will speak, as he did at the State of the Union, about the obligations the nation has to children lost in Newtown and other victims of gun violence to act on these proposals," a White House official said.
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